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  • May 2009

    CT Angiography Shown to Be Safe, Effective Screening Method for Ruling out Cardiovascular Disease

    Society for Academic Emergency Medicine’s annual conference | Judd Hollander et al.

    Article:

    Long-term study results validate efficacy of CT scans for chest pain diagnosis

    Authors:

    Dr. Judd Hollander et al, University of Pennsylvania

    Presentation:

    Presented May 15, 2009, at Society for Academic Emergency Medicine’s annual conference

    Summary:

    In the first long-term study to follow a large number of patients who have undergone emergency room computed tomography angiography (CTA), Dr. Judd Hollander and his team at the University of Pennsylvania tracked 481 patients for one year after receiving a negative scan (i.e., a scan that showed no serious coronary blockages or damage to the heart). While numerous studies have evaluated and demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of CTA – with previous research by Hollander et al showing that CTA saves up to $2500 per patient – this is the most definitive study to date evaluating the diagnostic and long-term efficacy of CT scans for excluding cardiovascular disease in patients presenting to the emergency room with chest pain.

    Of the 481 patients tracked, 10% of the patients required re-hospitalization at some point over the course of the year during which they were followed, while another 11% received additional cardiac testing. However, not a single patient suffered a heart attack or required revascularization procedures to open blocked arteries. This shows CTA to be a highly successful, efficient means of screening individuals for cardiovascular disease.

    With these positive results, Hollander et al concluded that, “The evidence now clearly shows that when used in appropriate patients in the ED [emergency department], we can safely and rapidly reduce hospital admission and save money…It seems time to make a national coverage decision that will facilitate coronary CTA in the emergency department.”

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