Four years ago, the National Institutes of Health began studying the MRI to see if it would be effective in emergency rooms in finding heart attacks. This week, we get the results. "We've seen patients that came to the emergency room with chest pain, the ekg didn't give us a diagnosis , the initial blood tests were perfectly normal, and the mri scan 38 minutes later showed they were having a heart attack," says Dr. Andrew Arai, National Institutes of Health, cardiovascular MRI.
The report in this week's "Circulation" suggests that more patients who are suffering a heart attack or who have severe blockages in their coronary arteries could receive treatment to reduce or even prevent permanent damage to the heart if they are diagnosed early on with an MRI.
For four years, doctors at suburban's ER compared the mri testing with three standard diagnostic tests an electrocardiogram or ekg, blood enzyme tests and a risk score, based on clinical characteristics of the patient. Doctors found that the mri detected all of the patients' heart attacks , including three patients who had normal EKG's!
Five million patients come to an emergency room each year with chest pains, now, a new study is laying what may be the groundwork for a dramatic change in how heart attacks are diagnosed.