Cardiac MRI could replace angiograms, claims BHF

8 September 2011

A cardiac MRI for patients with heart problems could replace the angiogram for some, according to a new study published in the journal Circulation.

In research conducted by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and medical scientists at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was found to be more effective and less painful in detecting whether a patient has coronary heart disease than the traditional method of an angiogram which can cause more complications.

The BHF said that it was vitally important for doctors to differentiate between the disease and other types of heart problems as treatments differed, meaning whether or not a patient had coronary heart disease was the "most important question", according to the medical director for the charity Professor Peter Weissberg.

He added: "The discovery means that some patients may no longer need to undergo an angiogram, so this research could have a big impact."

In an online paper for the Lancet, researchers at the University of Minnesota and Johns Hopkins University stated that their study indicated that smoking caused a 25 per cent higher risk for women of developing heart disease than it did for men.

Posted by Philip Briggs

1 Assomull, Ravi G., et. al., "Role of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance as a Gatekeeper to Invasive Coronary Angiography in Patients Presenting With Heart Failure of Unknown Etiology". Circulation. Tuesday September 6th 2011.

2 Huxley, Rachel R., Woodward, Mark, " Cigarette smoking as a risk factor for coronary heart disease in women compared with men: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies". The Lancet, Early Online Publication. Thursday August 11th 2011

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