Cardiac imaging breakthrough helps determine diminished blood flow to the heart

Monday, June 7, 2010 - 20:10 in Health & Medicine

Research presented at SNM's 57th Annual Meeting is challenging the typical paradigm used to determine whether heart patients will benefit from invasive procedures like stent-placement or open-heart surgery. Current medical practice favors treating patients with coronary atherosclerosis (or hardening of the artery walls due to plaque build-up) with such procedures if a coronary artery is shown to be blocked by 70 percent or more in order to reduce symptoms and potentially prevent heart attack. However, a group of cardiac investigators are now finding that in addition to the degree of blockage, composition of the plaque causing the blockage also has significant impact on coronary artery blood flow. This may help explain why two people with similarly blocked coronary arteries can experience vastly different symptoms.

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