Monday, June 14, 2010

Carotid artery ultrasound is an effective alternative to more invasive coronary angiography

New research from NYU Langone Medical Center shows that a simple, inexpensive and noninvasive carotid artery ultrasound of the neck can be used as a preliminary diagnostic tool for coronary artery disease (CAD). This may be an alternative to the standard, expensive and more invasive coronary angiography. The ultrasound test can also be used to rule out the diagnosis of CAD in patients presenting with reduced heart pump function. The new study appears in the June 2010 issue of the American Heart Journal.

"Our research has identified that carotid artery ultrasound is capable of identifying the presence of severe and extensive coronary artery disease," said Harmony R. Reynolds, MD, assistant professor of Medicine and associate director of the Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Based on our findings, physicians might consider using the carotid ultrasound test as an initial screen for CAD in patients with reduced heart pump function and no history of heart attack. If a patient tests positive for plaque buildup in the neck arteries, then it can be followed by angiography of the heart arteries."

When a patient has reduced heart function, severe and extensive CAD is often the cause. CAD is a narrowing of the arteries in the heart caused by deposits of plaque. This condition reduces the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and may lead to weakening of heart muscle and/or a heart attack.

source: EurekAlert

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