Image: A new generation 1.5-T adaptive cardiac and general MRI scanner (Photo courtesy of Siemens Healthineers).
The results of an international study show that a new cardiovascular MR imaging protocol can reduce costs by 80%, and is three times as fast as current tests.
The new protocol also changed clinical management in 33% of the patients scanned. Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) imaging exams are regularly used to diagnose cardiovascular diseases, to assess cardiac function and structure, and to investigate the likelihood of heart attacks.
Researchers from Peru, the UK, the US, and Brazil collaborated on the Impact of Non-invasive CMR Assessment (INCA)-Peru study. The goal of the research was to develop a new cost-effective and faster imaging protocol specifically for use in developing countries.
The initial CMR protocol was developed by researchers from University College London (UCL; London, UK) and was tested in Thailand. Next, the researchers modified the protocol by adding gadolinium, a CMR contrast agent, and tested it in a pilot INCA-Peru study involving 50 patients. In the current study the researchers again tested the CMR protocol with the contrast agent for two days in Peruvian hospitals. One hundred patients with suspected cardiomyopathy, and 11 healthy controls took part in the study. Each scan cost USD150, and took only 18 minutes on average.
Lead author of the study, cardiologist Dr. Katia Menacho, University College London, said: "In Peru just two public hospitals offer CMR - each performs 12 scans on one day a week. Five private hospitals provide CMR at USD $600-800 per scan. Public hospitals without CMR refer to the private sector and it takes up to three months to approve the paperwork, delaying diagnosis and treatment. We showed that this ultrafast CMR protocol can be used to accurately diagnosis patients leading to changes in clinical management."
University College London