New York: People about to be scanned for suspected heart disease may want to consider a low-radiation, non-invasive test, doctors said Monday.Dr. Moritz Wyler von Ballmoos of Children`s Hospital Boston, who worked on the study, said low-radiation CT scans compared favorably to standard tests."They have a lot to offer because they are less invasive and expose patients to less radiation," he said. "I think it is a very reasonable option for patients."After reviewing the medical literature, they concluded the test is just as good at ruling out heart problems as the current gold standard, called catheter coronary angiography.During that procedure, doctors take x-ray pictures of the heart while injecting contrast fluid into it through a slim catheter. The catheter is threaded into the heart via a blood vessel, which sometimes causes bleeding, and in very rare cases, death.Partly to get around those risks, some patients get a CT, or computed tomography, heart scan instead. The scan is non-invasive, but it exposes people to more x-rays than the catheter-based method.That extra radiation increases the patients` cancer risk. Although the added risk is small -- around one cancer per 1,000 scans -- it still stokes concern with more than 2 million CT heart scans done every year in the U.S.
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