If you go in for an angiogram, that normally means you go to the hospital to have a catheter inserted at the groin which winds its way up to the heart, releasing a dye that highlights any vessel that has a blockage. Here's what's new...it's called CT Angiogrophy.
Chuck Brogan, MD, a cardiologist, predicts this will change the way we find blockages in the heart, because he says it is faster, easier, safer and considerably cheaper than sending a patient to the cath lab.
"This procedure involves no tubes inside the patient. We start with an IV in the arm. We have a chance to see all the arteries, just like we do in the cath lab plus we get a chance to see what's going on in the wall. We see the soft plaque, can tell the difference between calcium and soft plaque. The EBT scan just lets us see the calcium. We get to see both here plus what's left of the artery," says Dr. Brogan.
Dr. Brogan says they know exactly how many seconds it will take for dye to travel from the patient's arm to the heart. So, at the precise moment, the CT scan can begin taking pictures from every angle, with each picture slightly overlapping the other in a three dimensional view. So nothing is missed. Doctors can see whether they need to go in and open a vessel or just treat it with medication.
Patsy King had a traditional angiogram a few months ago and was put on medication. Now that doctors suspect her heart condition is worsening, she opted for this procedure instead.
"No comparison. You had to go into the hospital for the other one, and you had to lay very still for several hours. It just took 10 to 15 minutes, if that long," says Patsy.
The first CT angiography in Texas is only available at Brogan Heart Center right here in Lubbock.