According to a study published in this month’s American Journal of Roentgenology, performing cardiac computed tomography angiography (CTA) after coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) can reveal unsuspected and potentially significant findings beyond the heart.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, included 259 patients who had a cardiac CTA examination postoperatively.
Of these 259 patients, 51 had at least one unsuspected, potentially significant finding. Of these, 24 had a cardiac finding such as intracardiac thrombus, and 34 patients had a non-cardiac finding such as pulmonary embolism, lung cancer, or pneumonia, according to the authors.
Senior author, Dr. Charles White, said that there was a fairly high rate of abnormalities that are found incidentally outside the coronary arteries and bypass grafts.
“The take home message is that these examinations require physician interpreters who are trained to read the entire CT, not just the coronary vessels,” he said.