by K.H. Sheikh, MD, MBA
The search for the Holy Grail in cardiology has been the
ability to obtain high quality pictures of the coronary arteries without the
need to enter the body. CAT scans are specialized x-rays that have been used to
obtain images of many body parts. The ability of CAT scans to obtain pictures
of the heart has been limited by one unique property of the heart that
distinguishes it from any other organ in the body…it continuously moves! The
latest generation of high speed x-ray imaging systems and computer processors
now enable exactly this. Using “multiple slice, multiple detector” technology,
external images of the beating heart of sufficiently high quality to be
comparable to coronary angiograms can now be obtained. The latest generations
of scanners obtain coronary CT angiograms (CCTA) that reliably show the level
of plaque inside coronary arteries just like a cardiac catheterization, and so
much more. The CCTA does all of this in a painless, 14 second examination that
requires the patient to simply lie inside a hollow chamber and briefly hold
their breath. The greatest value of the CCTA examinations is to exclude, or
“rule-out” CHD. In patients with suspected coronary heart problems, the CCTA
has nearly 100% accuracy in the ability to detect any level of plaque. Since
nearly one out of three patients in the U.S who have a cardiac catheterization
turn out to not have any serious blockages, a CCTA potentially could eliminate
many of these unnecessary invasive catheterizations.
Heart disease affects 17 million Americans, with another 100 million more who are at-risk because of abnormalities in blood cholesterol. With the proper knowledge and an understanding of the tools for proper diagnosis and treatment, atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease can be prevented and reversed...
K. H. Sheikh, MD, MBA, FACC
Dr. Sheikh directs a cardiology practice specializing in lipid management and cardiovascular disease prevention, treatment and reversal in Cocoa Beach, Florida. He was a Professor of Cardiology at Duke University before entering private practice, and is currently on the clinical faculty at the...
Dr. Sheikh directs a cardiology practice specializing in lipid management and cardiovascular disease prevention and reversal. He practices with Health First Physicians-Cardiovascular Specialists, a single specialty, cardiology practice in Brevard County, on the Space Coast of Florida.