Elisabeth Manville
Mar 26, 2012

CT scans can quickly rule out possibility of heart attack

A study revealed that a scan of the heart can safely and quickly rule out the possibility of a heart attack in patients who come to emergency rooms experiencing chest pains. The trial compared CT angiography and traditional cardiac testing methods, revealing that chest pain patients with negative CT scans could be safely and quickly discharged from the hospital. Since chest pain is the second most common reason for emergency room visits, yet only 5 to 15 percent of those patients are found to be suffering from a heart attack or other serious cardiac diseases, this technique could save millions of dollars. "Until now, our methods for diagnosing patients with acute coronary syndromes in the emergency room setting have been both time-consuming and costly,” Judd Hollander, senior author of the study, said. “We have spent the past 30 years trying to find a simple test that will tell patients, right now, 'It's not your heart.' This trial is the first time we've been able to accomplish that.”