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The exciting development of a prototype hybrid device for the evaluation of chest pains was announced by Prof. Rafael Beyar of the Rappaport Institute for Medical Research, Haifa, Israel

Prof. Rafael Beyar
Prof. Rafael Beyar

17 April, 2007

Prof. Beyar states that this  prototype hybrid device combines a computerized tomography coronary angriography (CTCA) with an advanced nuclear camera (single-photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT) for the improved evaluation of patients suffering from chest pains. 

Prof. Beyar and his research team, along with researchers from  the General Electric Healthcare Technologies-Israel, have proven for the first time  that CTCA is not only safer but more accurate in determining whether patients with chest pains need invasive treatment to prevent a heart attack, than current testing methods.  Their findings were just published in the on-line edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC).

Prof. Beyar performed a comparative study of 130 patients suffering from chest pains  who had been examined using both the hybrid, non-invasive device and invasive catheterization.

The prototype device examines the heart muscle and maps the flow of blood inside it in one examination. It provides an accurate diagnosis of clogged coronary arteries, at the same level as that in invasive catheterization, but is much more accurate than CT imaging of the heart alone. Prof. Beyar’s team feels sure that this new technology is sure to become the standard, and  will make many diagnostic catheterizations - which pose risks to the patient - unnecessary.

While CTCA provides anatomical information about the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, it  is incapable of providing information about the physiological significance (the amount of disruption in the blood supply) of the narrowed arteries. 

The  SPECT is a new technology, which enables the assessment of blood flow to the heart muscle when the patient is at rest and active.  This enables the identification of the healthy, damaged and scarred regions of heart muscle. But this device cannot be used optimally alone.

The new hybrid device combines both of these technologies and conducts both CTCA and SPECT in one examination.  Prof. Beyar feels that the new development is a breakthrough in diagnosis of heart disease.  It will enable Doctors to know before catheterization if there is disease in the arteries and how best to treat it. 

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