Monday, March 26, 2007

Yet Another Crack in the Wall

Well folks, I'm back on my feet (well on my butt and at my desk anyway) after a NASTY case of the flu to report that maybe, just maybe, the traditional medical establishment will one day "get it."

A March 19, 2007 study released in the American Heart Association journal Circulation showed that multi-slice CT heart scanning can predict with 100% sensitivity (people who test negative and are not having a heart attack) and 92% specificity (people who test positive and are having a heart attack) whether a person who enters an emergency room with chest pain is actually having a heart attack. It's negative predictive value was 100% over the course of a 15 month follow-up. Not one study participant who tested negative and was released had a heart attack.

"Although not all emergency-department patients with chest pain require CT imaging for risk stratification, the present study demonstrates applicability of the technique to selected patients in the population with intermediate risk in whom the incremental value of noninvasive imaging may have a significant impact on patient management," the authors concluded.

Sometimes (not often) it just makes me laugh the way some of these rocket scientists think. Let's see, we can do a bunch of expensive blood tests that tell us that you MIGHT or MIGHT NOT be having a heart attack, we can cut you open and shove a catheter into your heart (a surgicially invasive procedure that exposes you to as much raditation as a scan), or we can have you lay down and, in 10 minutes, non-invasively take a picture that tells us if there are any actual blockages with near 100% accuracy. Uh, I vote for number 3!

It is amazing how long it has taken "modern" medicine to make it this far. Oh well, they'll probably come around sometime in the next decade or so. Until then, it is still up to you to stay alert, stay informed, and stay alive!

(Cough, Cough, Sneeze, %*&#$@!) Regards,



madcook said...

I wondered where you were... glad to hear that you're on the mend! I supposed that you are getting cabin fever by now. If so, I hope you are monitoring the current proceedings of the American College of Cardiology. It's so interesting to watch the various factions arguing with each other over the current crop of studies being released... interventionists vs. medical management... Mediterranean diet vs. lower fat diet, etc. The spin being cast off by the various sponsoring entities... well it could make a politician blush! I just love the medical meeting season...



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