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Routine CT scans could reduce MI risk

Giving patients with chest pain a computed tomography (CT) scan as well as the standard tests could reduce myocardial infarction (MI) risk, according to a University of Edinburgh study published recently in The Lancet.1

The SCOT-HEART (Scottish Computed tomography Of The heart) study, led by BHF Professor David Newby, involved 4,000 people who came into A&E with suspected angina caused by coronary heart disease. The researchers found that around a quarter of patients who had CT had their diagnosis reclassified, which led to a new treatment in many cases.

They also found a reduced heart attack rate in the group of patients who had the CT scan. Researchers will investigate, in a separate study, whether giving the scans to all patients who arrive at hospital A&E departments with chest pain can also help to reduce heart attack rates.

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, which funds the lead researcher, said: “Accurate diagnosis of coronary heart disease is vital for ensuring patients receive the optimum treatment to manage their condition and reduce risk of a heart attack. Research comparing existing care with other available tests is important for demonstrating how diagnosis could be improved.

“This study provides strong evidence that a CT coronary angiogram can improve diagnosis and help doctors choose the right treatment for suspected coronary heart disease. We welcome news of further research to see whether giving this test to all patients with chest pain would help to reduce their risk of heart attack.”


1. The SCOT-HEART investigators. CT coronary angiography in patients with suspected angina due to coronary heart disease (SCOT-HEART): an open-label, parallel-group, multicentre trial. Lancet 2015

Published on: March 27, 2015

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