Imaging method improves heart attack prediction

Imaging method improves heart attack prediction

A new imaging technique could help doctors identify those patients at an increased risk of having a heart attack.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Cambridge have demonstrated the way in which PET and CT scanning can be combined to generate an image of disease processes occurring in the coronary arteries that lead to heart attacks.

The discovery was made when investigators used the CT calcium score of 100 participants to measure the amount of hardened plaques in the coronary arteries. This is a standard test, but could not distinguish how long the calcium had been present in participants.

However, when using PET scanning techniques in conjunction with CT procedures, researchers were able to test for hardening plaques and how long the build-up had been present.

Pet scanning works by injecting patients with a tracer that is absorbed by cells that are active when calcification or hardening is occurring. This is then identified and measured using PET scans.

Being able to identify those at a high risk of heart attack is vital in being able to prevent the incident occurring and helping to reverse the damage already done.

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