Coronary Syndromes

The Future of Cardiac Testing

Advances in medicine continuously transform the industry. Protocols for the screening, testing, and diagnosing of medical conditions are constantly changing to keep up with modern medicine. As a result the accuracy of care improves along with patient outcomes. Below is a brief introduction to several innovative test for cardiac conditions. Although each test listed has not been approved at this time, medical researchers are working to develop and approve these innovative testing tools.

  • Magnetic resonance angiography

Magnetic resonance angiography is the first proposed cardiac testing tool to combine imaging along with assessment tools for blood flow and wall motion. This promising advance in medicine also allows providers to obtain an image of coronary vessels without the use of radiation or contrast dye.

  • Carotid intima-media thickness

New research has shown that measurements of the two innermost layers of the artery wall, known as the tunica intima and tunica media, may provide a more accurate illustration of cardiovascular risk. If this technology comes to fruition medical providers could offer an alternative for cardiac testing in the Emergency Department, which bears less risk and cost than current technologies.

  • Triple-rule-out CT

Medical providers aim to improve the accuracy of testing by combining CT scan and IV contrast technologies for the assessment of coronary artery disease, pulmonary embolism and aorta dissections. This method of combined testing for evaluation of cardiac risk is known as the tripe-rule-out CT. Research suggest that this method of testing may have a limited value, which does not justify the risks associated with radiation exposure and the cost of the testing in some cases. Researchers are currently developing protocols for assessing and determining patients that would benefit from triple-rule-out CT testing.

  • Diagnosing CAD using cardiac PET scanning

Researchers have proposed two clinical approaches for the use of positron emission topography (PET) scanning to evaluate patients with CAD. The first approach incorporates PET scanning along with standardized stress testing. Whereas the second approach utilizes PET to assess for specific cardia dysfunctions. Clinical testing yielded improved accuracy of diagnosis in cases where combined PET/CT scanning were utilized in comparison to testing with the use of PET scanning alone.

Researchers continue to examine and determine the clinical applications of these emerging technologies. Continued research is recommended on each testing tool, as the clinical applications are still under examination.

 

References

1 Krause, R., Brenner, B., Koenig, B., Talavera, F., Lang, E., Peak, D. (2016, December 18). Cardiac Test. Retrieved from emedicine.medscape.com.

2 Ceaders-Sinai. (2017). Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Test. Retrieved from www.cedars-sinai.edu.

3 Wnorowski AM and Halpern EJ. (2016, August) Diagnostic yield of triple-rule-out CT in an emergency setting. The American Journal Roentgenology, volume 207 (issue number 2). Retrieved from www.ajronline.org/doi/10.2214/AJR.15.15717.

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