Trained eyes needed to spot small cancers, blood clots and aneurysms early
Nearly half of all patients who get their hearts scanned with a high-speed CT scanner may get a shocking surprise: a diagnosis of a serious problem that has nothing to do with their heart. New research from the University of Michigan shows that 43 of 98 patients who had a CT heart scan to look for clogged arteries were also found to have significant or potentially significant signs of problems with their lungs, blood vessels or organs. These discoveries ranged from possible lung cancer in 16 patients to potentially dangerous blood clots and aneurysms in 10 patients. The results are being presented here today at the American Roentgen Ray Societys annual meeting by cardiac imaging specialists from the U-M Cardiovascular Center.
The researchers say their data show just how important it is for trained radiologists to view heart CT scans, as is done at the U-M Health System, rather than having the scans read by heart specialists alone. They note that there has been explosive growth in the number of patients having CT scans to diagnose or monitor heart disease in recent years. "Many of these patients are having their scans at cardiology centers that may or may not employ a physician who specializes in radiology and has been trained to spot problems of any kind on medical images," says lead author Smita Patel, M.B.B.S., an assistant professor of radiology at the U-M Medical School and member of the U-M thoracic (chest) radiology team. "Our research suggests that may leave potentially serious problems undiagnosed. The trained eyes of radiologists are needed."
Kara Gavin | EurekAlert!
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