Dear Physicians at CCRC,
Recently I read an article of a new MRI imagining technique developed to exam plaque buildup and blockages. Would you comment on this technique and is it as useful as thallium stress testing to test for blockages?
Thanks - Tim
As it is still experimental,I would not yet recommend its use outside of research trials. For now, I would recommend exercise stress testing with either echocardiography or nuclear scanning to detect significant blockages noninvasively.
I read that heart attack risk detection was improved with "Enhanced" MRI. This was the finding of researchers at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. The post to InteliHealth reported that, "The traditional treadmill stress test can detect whether a coronary artery is narrowing, and reducing the blood supply to the heart. But unlike the treadmill test, the enhanced MRI utilizing software developed at Mt. Sinai can detect soft plaque, which is believed to cause 70 percent of heart attacks." That is because, "Soft plaque is much more likely than hardened plaque to break loose from artery wall and cause a clot, which leads to a heart attack." If these preliminary study findings are confirmed by further studies, would not Enhanced MRI replace treadmill stress testing to diagnose heart disease, and be a mechanism for testing the drugs and other therapies that reduce cholesterol in patients who can have MRIs? Could you comment on this "Enhanced" MRI and it's significance to this Forum's readers?
As I indicated in my previous post, this is experimental and I would therefore not recommend it on my patients, unless they are part of an experimental trial. The research is interesting and may one day replace or complement current stress testing modalities, but that day is in the future.
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