Radiologists performing fewer cardiovascular imaging studies

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Although the number of cardiovascular imaging (CVI) studies has increased significantly over the past decade, a study by a group of investigators at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia shows that radiologists are falling significantly further behind cardiologists in sheer numbers of imaging exams.

This group determined that the rate of CVI studies by cardiologists has increased more than twice as rapidly as among radiologists as they analyzed past records. Reviewing shifting patterns in seven different categories of these tests - CV computed tomography, CV magnetic resonance imaging, CV nuclear medicine, CV positron-emission tomography (PET), echocardiography, vascular ultrasound and chest radiography - these researchers found that cardiologists have increased their proportional share of the number of studies completed. With an increase in the use of echocardiography and cardiovascular nuclear medicine studies, cardiologists now dominate the field.

In the study presented at RSNA, David C. Levin, MD, professor and chairman emeritus of the Department of Radiology at Jefferson, suggests that radiologists may want to increase their percentage of CVI techniques by utilizing increased capabilities in CT, MRI and PET in an attempt to reverse this trend.