Expensive CT Scans: Where's the Patient Benefit?

In the Nov. 27, 2008, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, cardiologists debate the effectiveness of high-resolution computer images of the heart (CT angiography) in place of the standard cardiac angiogram. Although the study’s authors conclude that CT scans are effective in spotting heart disease, other cardiologists disagree, pointing to the exact same data.

UCSF’s Rita Redberg, MD, cardiologist and director of Women’s Cardiovascular Services, said the study failed to address the most important question about CT scans – whether they improve patient outcomes.

“What I’m wondering is, if I use it for my patients, will my patients do better?” Redberg said. “We need evidence of benefit before we start using expensive technologies in widespread ways.”

Related Links:

Pay Now, Benefits May Follow – The Case of Cardiac Computed Tomographic Angiography

Rita F. Redberg and Judith Walsh

New England Journal of Medicine, (Nov. 27, 2008) 359(22):2309-2311


Diagnostic Performance of Coronary Angiography by 64-Row CT

Julie M. Miller, Carlos E. Rochitte, Marc Dewey, Armin Arbab-Zadeh, Hiroyuki Niinuma, Ilan Gottlieb, Narinder Paul, Melvin E. Clouse, Edward P. Shapiro, John Hoe, Albert C. Lardo, David E. Bush, Albert de Roos, Christopher Cox, Jeffery Brinker and João A.C. Lima

New England Journal of Medicine,  (Nov. 27, 2008) 359(22):2324-2336



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