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Chris P. Kaiser

Armstrong County Memorial Hospital in Kittanning, Pa., has selected DR Systems' Unity CVIS to meet its cardiology department's CVIS needs.

People who underwent coronary artery calcium scanning with a subsequent risk factor counseling session that included a look at their calcium took more steps to improve their health without increasing downstream medical costs compared with those who did not receive calcium scanning, according to the results of the EISNER trial published online March 23 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

For many areas in cardiovascular treatments, one product or protocol is generally tested against a similar or competing product or protocol. In imaging, however, the standard has been to test the imaging modality for its accuracy without follow-up to determine the test's impact on outcomes. That paradigm has shifted with the recent launch of the PROMISE trial, which will compare coronary CT angiography (CCTA) with functional stress testing, such as exercise ECG, stress echocardiography and stress nuclear imaging, in 10,000 low- to intermediate-risk patients.

Adding an ECG to a history and physical exam in healthy children and adolescents can identify potentially serious heart conditions that can increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), according to a study published March 15 in the American Heart Journal.

The FDA has granted 510(k) marketing clearance to Cardiovascular Systems for its Stealth 360 Orbital PAD [peripheral artery disease] system, a percutaneous orbital atherectomy system indicated for use as therapy in patients with occlusive atherosclerotic disease in peripheral arteries and stenotic material from artificial arteriovenous dialysis fistulae.

Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Tom Carper, D-Del., in a letter urged the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to conduct a comprehensive investigation of all U.S. nuclear facilities "to assess their capacity to withstand catastrophic natural or man-made disasters including scenarios that may be considered remote like the recent events in Japan."

In a highly selected group of patients with acute unstable or new-onset angina, coronary CT angiography (CCTA) was able to delineate features of plaque disruption, including ulceration and intraplaque dye penetration, which are specific markers of invasively identified complex plaque, according to a single-center study published in the March 16 Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has called for a 1 percent increase in payments for inpatient and outpatient hospitals, as well as for physician fee schedule services, in its March report to Congress.

Newer SPECT cameras, through innovative design and software algorithms, have the ability to acquire images of the heart in less time and with better resolution than conventional SPECT cameras. Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta detailed these advancements in the February issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE) has issued a letter to Circulation and the New England Journal of Medicine expressing concern about the 2011 update to the American Heart Association's guideline for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women.