from the April 2007 issue

Novel radiology system aims to replace angioplasty

A collaborative effort between researchers from Rambam Health Care Campus headed by Professor Ora Israel and General Electric Healthcare Technologies, two prototype hybrid imaging devices were developed combining hybrid imaging with single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA). Phillips and Siemens are known to be working on similar devices.

Today cardiologists after getting the result of a CT angiography would do a SPECT radioactive perfusion scan and then assess whether there is significant ischemia and go ahead with a conventional angiogram and angioplasty. The new machine would do this faster in one procedure and integrate the images in one testing modality

The hybrid device was the basis for a comparative study conducted at Rambam over fifty patients with angina pectoris, which was just published in the electronic version of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology . The patients underwent testing using the new imaging device, and by invasive cardiac angiography. It was found that the new imaging device was accurate in diagnosing heart disease in 95% of the cases compared to the invasive procedure.

Prof. Ora Israel - leader of the research group, is Director of Nuclear Medicine at Rambam Health Care Campus, and a world expert in the field of hybrid imaging, and in oncology imaging stated that "The development of hybrid imaging of the heart is a natural extension of hybrid imaging in the field of cancer, in which Rambam was one of the leaders and which is now in wide clinical use worldwide. To apply this technology for cardiology, we assembled a team of cardiologists and imaging experts who worked closely together with General Electric to create this innovative new device."

Prof. Rafael Beyar - Chief Executive Officer, Rambam Health Care Campus and a participant in the research project stated that "This new development represents a breakthrough in the diagnosis of heart disease. As an invasive cardiologist, before performing coronary angiography I can have a much clearer picture of whether the patient has arterial disease and what is the best way to treat it. This decision has profound significance considering the risks involved with drug-eluting stents."

Questions still to be answered relate to the radiation dose to the patient, as well and the dose of contrast material required.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report April 2007

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