Technology | December 07, 2009

Health Screening Suite Offers Cardiac Calcium Scoring, Echo Stress

December 7, 2009 – Six widely used tests that determine risk factors for a specific disease are included in Medweb’s new Health Screening Suite, showcased last week at RSNA 2009.

Each screening test in the suite creates a more efficient reading workflow for radiologists and computes a score based on objective information obtained by the diagnostic imaging study. The suite is designed for smaller offices and health screening centers. The suite allows easy creation of a report with images the patient can take home with them.

Cardiac calcium scoring uses a CT scan of the heart and arteries to detect the buildup of calcium in plaque on the walls of the coronary arteries. While no guidelines currently exist for recommending screening for calcium buildup, a 2007 ACC/AHA Clinical Expert Consensus judged that it may be reasonable to consider using CAC measurement in asymptomatic patients with intermediate risk for CAD. The committee also recognized that evidence suggests patients considered low risk for CAD by virtue of atypical cardiac symptoms may benefit from cardiac calcium scoring to help rule out the presence of obstructive CAD.

A stress test helps a physician determine the amount of stress that a patient’s heart can manage before developing either an abnormal rhythm or evidence of ischemia. A stress echocardiogram is often used to visualize motion of the heart’s walls and pumping action after it has been stressed.

A bone density test to determine a patient’s risk of osteoporosis, examines the bone mineral density using X-rays to measure grams of calcium and other bone minerals.

The suite also offers virtual colonoscopy (VC) to visualize 100 percent of the interior and exterior colon. Traditional colonoscopy typically visualizes only 80 percent of the interior colon, as it is unable to see behind colon folds, where polyps may hide. Additionally, in approximately 5 percent of all cases, the patient’s colon is too long to allow traditional colonoscopy to reach the cecum.

Abdominal fat density scoring is also included, which examines visceral fat. Recent studies show this type of fat is linked to metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, including hypertension and diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease cancer, depression and total mortality, including premature death. The level of abdominal fat is widely recognized as a predictor of risk for developing CAD and other diseases for both men and women, the company said. The current gold standard for scoring of visceral fat is CT, and to a lesser extent, MRI; these tests quantify the dense fat surrounding intra-abdominal organs.

For more information: www.medweb.com

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