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Home > News Room > Journal of Nuclear Medicine publishes Heart Center study

Journal of Nuclear Medicine publishes Heart Center of Niagara study

Journal of Nuclear Medicine publishes
Heart Center of Niagara study on cardiac PET

A paper based on research done at The Heart Center of Niagara was published in the July 1 edition of the prestigious Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

A team led by nuclear cardiologist Dr. Michael E. Merhige, medical director of The Heart Center, conducted the study in conjunction with the Departments of Cardiology, Internal Medicine and Nuclear Medicine at the State University at Buffalo.  The study tested the hypothesis that using noninvasive cardiac PET scanning and aggressive medical management of heart disease lowers costs associated with coronary disease management when compared to using invasive coronary arteriography, bypass surgery and stent placement.

Clinical outcomes, procedures and costs were evaluated in more than 2,000 patients imaged with cardiac PET and compared to two control groups of patients who were imaged with traditional nuclear stress testing, also known as a Cardiolite stress test. 

Cardiac PET imaging resulted in a 50 percent reduction in the use of coronary arteriography (angiography) and cardiac bypass surgery, a 22 percent reduction in coronary disease management costs and excellent short-term patient outcomes when compared with conventional practice.

“Compelling evidence has demonstrated that invasive procedures such as coronary arteriography, coronary bypass surgery and stent implantation are overutilized in the United States, contributing to unnecessary health care expense without improved patient outcomes,” Dr. Merhige said. “This study supports the idea that the future of cardiology lies in non-invasive imaging combined with the aggressive use of cholesterol lowering drugs and lifestyle changes including better nutrition, regular exercise and smoking cessation.”

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