CT more cost-effective than SPECT in diagnosing CAD
Study could promote increased use of CCTA. Source: GE Healthcare  
Patients who underwent coronary CT angiography (CCTA), without a prior diagnosis of coronary artery disease (CAD), incurred costs $603 lower (per patient average) than those who underwent myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI or SPECT), according to a study presented by James K. Min, MD, on Tuesday at the 2008 American College of Cardiology (ACC) in Chicago.

Min, a cardiologist from New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell in New York City, said that the study “provides an initial foundation to suggest that CCTA may be used as a cost-efficient alternative to nuclear stress testing for evaluation of patients with suspected coronary artery disease.”

The researchers collected data for 142,535 patients, who underwent CCTA or MPI for nine months before and after the test. The investigators then assessed the pre-test cardiac risk by cardiac risk factors and medications.

MPI patients were matched to CCTA patients using 11 categories of demographic and risk states, Min said. The researchers measured the cost and clinical effectiveness in both downstream CAD costs and clinical events including myocardial infarction (MI), angina and CAD-related hospitalization.

Min reported that both groups had equal clinical outcomes.

“This study’s findings further substantiate medical imaging technology as a cost-effective diagnostic tool for patients with suspected coronary artery disease,” said Andrew Whitman, vice president of the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA). “MITA applauds the work of Min and his team at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. Their findings remind us that patients deserve access to innovative medical imaging technology to help fight heart disease.”

GE Healthcare partially funded this study.