Heart Institute's Next Generation Technology Tailors Radiation Exposure for First-Time 'Personalized' Cardiac Imaging



    Canada's Most Advanced Camera Provides Faster, More Precise 3-D View of
    Cardiac Damage

    OTTAWA, May 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Advanced scanning technology acquired by
University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) allows its physicians to tailor
radiation exposure to patients, providing first-time personalized cardiac
imaging. The imaging system operates with a super-sensitive detector to target
with pinpoint precision the location and severity of heart damage.
    The Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) imaging system
uses cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) crystal detectors in a camera, providing
sharper, high-resolution 3-D images in a safe, non-invasive test. The Heart
Institute's CZT camera means scanning time is reduced by 75% - to between
three to five minutes from 15 to 20 minutes.
    "Our next generation technology offers more flexible options for our
patients because both the imaging times and the radiation exposure are
variable" said Dr. Terrence Ruddy, Chief of Cardiology, UOHI. "For the first
time we can fine tune a diagnostic scan based on the patient's needs and offer
personalized cardiac imaging. For patients who are older, have a slight build
or suffer health problems, we can dramatically shorten the test. Patients who
are younger, stronger and have no health complications can manage a longer
imaging test but with less radiation exposure."
    "Cardiovascular imaging technology is an extremely important tool because
it has the potential to prevent and reduce cardiac events such as heart
attack. These steps are critical to improving health care and helping us to
manage a growing population who suffer from heart disease," said Dr. Ruddy.
    Important research and patient information is gleaned from imaging
damaged hearts. The Heart Institute is home to the National Cardiac PET
Centre, Canada's most comprehensive cardiac imaging centre. The advanced SPECT
is among the new fleet of technology ushering in a new era of imaging geared
to faster scanning and less radiation. Ultra-sophisticated technologies like
these are available in only a few molecular imaging facilities around the
world. Radiotracers injected into the body are captured and analyzed with a 3D
image showing details of internal anatomy and cardiac function. Imaging
techniques at the Heart Institute include Positron Emission Tomography (PET),
Computer Tomography (CT), SPECT and Canada's first combined cardiac PET-CT
machine.

    About UOHI

    The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is Canada's largest and foremost
cardiovascular health centre dedicated to understanding, treating and
preventing heart disease. We deliver high-tech care with a personal touch,
shape the way cardiovascular medicine is practiced, and revolutionize cardiac
treatment and understanding. We build knowledge through research and translate
discoveries into advanced care. We serve the local, national and international
community, and are pioneering a new era in heart health. For more information,
visit www.ottawaheart.ca

    Cardiac Imaging Technologies

    The Heart institute's suite of ultra-sophisticated technologies is
available in only a few molecular imaging facilities around the world. Imaging
technology is used both in clinical research and patient diagnosis to reveal
blood flow and heart function. Their use is dependent on the health, age and
strength of a patient.

    Cardiac CT
    In CT imaging, a high-resolution multi-slice scanner uses a computer and
x-rays to create cross-sectioned 'slices' of the heart rendered in 3D images.
The heart is in constant motion, so conducting a moving scan is challenging.
The CT technology is so fast, it can capture 'still' images of a beating
heart. CT is the preferred tool for younger patients, aged 60 or less, with
only two or three risk factors for coronary artery disease.

    SPECT
    Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a nuclear imaging
technique that uses radiotracers and gamma rays to assess coronary blood flow.
A tiny amount of radioactive substance is injected into the patient and gives
off energy that is 'traced' to reveal areas of the heart that are not
receiving sufficient blood flow. This test is generally assigned for patients
who are older than 60 with two or three risk factors.

    PET
    Positron Emission Tomography is similar to SPECT. Cardiac PET assesses
blood flow to the heart by using radiotracers that emit positrons. PET is
considered to have superior image resolution and accuracy. It is also the most
sensitive method for assessing heart tissue viability, which is especially
important for patients with more severe CAD and heart failure. PET is
considered an ideal imaging tool for patients who are obese or who have
inconclusive tests results elsewhere.

    Editors: Photos of these imaging systems are available on request.




For further information:

For further information: Marlene Orton, Senior Manager, Public Affairs,
University of Ottawa Heart Institute, (613) 761-4427, morton@ottawaheart.ca

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Ottawa Heart Institute, University of Ottawa

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