Patients prefer CT to MRI to evaluate coronary arteries
Feb 28, 2007 - 12:50:10 PM

Computed tomography (CT) is preferred to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by patients with heart disease. That is the result of a study performed at Charité – Universitäts medizin Berlin and published on February 28, 2007 in PLoS ONE, the international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication from the Public Library of Science (PLoS).

The study compared these two noninvasive tests with invasive angiography. These imaging modalities play a crucial role in the diagnostic assessment of coronary artery disease, which affects about one in four to one in three individuals in Germany.

111 patients who were examined with all three modalities were asked for their assessment. Unsurprisingly, conventional coronary angiography which involves insertion of a catheter and administration of a contrast agent was least popular. About three quarters of the patients would prefer CT to MRI despite the fact that contrast administration is necessary for CT.

While computed tomography involves X-rays, MRI uses magnetic fields and radiowaves. The main advantage of CT is the short duration of the examination, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes. In contrast, patients who undergo MRI of the heart must lie still for up to an hour.

“It is not only the accuracy of a diagnostic test that counts,” says Dr. Marc Dewey who led the study, “we think it is just as important that a
method is accepted by our patients.”

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