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Radiation Reduction in Heart CT Scans Reported in Study

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 General News J E 4
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Radiologist reports 90 percent radiation reduction in cardiac CT scans

CHICAGO, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dr. James Earls, a radiologist from Fairfax Radiological Consultants in suburban Washington, D.C. will present the findings of a study that shows a 90 percent reduction in the amount of radiation heart patients received from CT scans compared to scans performed two years ago.

Dr. Earls will present the study to the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, at The McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Ill. on Tuesday, December 1 at 3:40 p.m. Central Time. It is the largest medical meeting in the world, with 65,000 doctors and other attendees.

Researchers found that newly developed CT technology can accurately make high quality images with substantially less radiation than prior scanners. The new CT scanners use a new method known as adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR).

The researchers found that they could reduce the radiation dose to the patient by more than 90 percent compared to routine radiation dosage from older scanners. Lower radiation exposure significantly reduces the risk of cancer.

In addition, the new CT technology gives doctors much clearer images to diagnose potential heart attack patients.

Dr. Earls is the lead author of the study that was conducted at three centers: Fairfax Radiological Consultants in Fairfax, Virginia: Cornell University / New York Hospital in New York; and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada during a 9-month period, and consisted of 1,202 patients.

Approximately 70 million CT scans are done in the U.S. annually, including nearly 3 million cardiac CT scans. Cardiac CT is a relatively new use for CT scanners and can be used to diagnose heart disease noninvasively. The technique had previously been criticized for requiring relatively high doses of radiation.

Fairfax Radiological Consultants recently installed an advanced CT scanner in each of its five CT clinic locations. The company invested more than $10 million in the scanners, manufactured by General Electric.

"We conduct more than 43,000 CT scans of all types in our offices each year. There is no question this was the right thing to do," said Dr. Earls, author of the study and medical director of Cardiovascular CT and MRI at Fairfax Radiological Consultants.

"While the fate of health care reform and the economic recovery remains uncertain, Fairfax Radiological Consultants put our patients' well-being first, and shifted the risk from the people we serve to the company. The results of the study prove it was a risk worth taking," said Dr. Earls.

With five of the new CT scanners, Fairfax Radiological Consultants has as many low-dose CT scanners as any other hospital or practice in the world, and is the only CT facility that has gone 100 percent low-dose. Using these advanced scanners costs patients and insurance companies no more than it did before.

SOURCE Fairfax Radiological Consultants
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