MOUNT ROYAL, N.J., Oct. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the use of heart magnetic resonance imaging (Heart MRI) for improved diagnosis and treatment of patients with chest pain.
Heart MRI is a non-invasive method for providing a complete visual evaluation of the anatomy and function of the heart and its immediate blood vessels. Heart MRI can be an effective test for patients with chest pain as it provides high-quality imaging to help physicians diagnose and determine personalized treatment plans.
The MR-INFORM trial looked at 918 patients with chest pain and risk factors for coronary artery disease. One group received the standard invasive angiography. The other group received a 40-minute Heart MRI stress perfusion scan to determine whether more invasive angiography was required. In this group, only patients with abnormal Heart MRI results underwent an invasive study.
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The two groups had similar health outcomes, with under four percent of patients in both groups experiencing cardiac events (e.g. heart attack) within the following year. However, the group whose treatment was informed by a Heart MRI scan had significantly fewer procedures, with only 40 percent of this group having invasive angiography. Only 36 percent of the Heart MRI group went on to have revascularization, compared to 45 percent in the other group, showing that Heart MRI can reduce the need for invasive procedures.
While the study included patients with chest pain, all patients with cardiovascular disease may benefit from a Heart MRI. Chiara Bucciarelli-Ducci, MD, PhD, FESC, FRCP, an associate professor in cardiology/non-invasive imaging at the Bristol Heart Institute in the UK, a co-author of the study and CEO of the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, said while the use of Heart MRIs is comparatively higher in Europe, the need for definitive, relevant, accurate and actionable information among U.S.-based cardiologists is imperative.
"In 2016, more than 800,000 deaths were attributed to heart disease in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association," she said. "Heart MRI is one test that can answer many questions for patients by helping physicians accurately identify the underlying causes of heart problems. With a tool that can effectively detect a range of heart issues, we can properly address conditions, some of which can be reversed with proper treatment."
Although Heart MRIs are used less frequently in the U.S. than they are in Europe, Michael Salerno, MD, PhD, Director of Cardiac MRI and associate professor of medicine and radiology and medical imaging at the University of Virginia Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, said Heart MRI will become an increasingly essential tool due to its ability to identify the causes of heart problems. For example, in addition to showing if the heart is not pumping properly, a Heart MRI helps physicians examine scarring in the heart, which is often key to providing the correct diagnosis.