Effort to Standardized Analysis

The collaborative study involved physicians and researchers at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, the University of Oregon and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The study, which involved images done on 328 heart patients at Sacred Heart, is part of an effort to standardize cardiac-image analyses to improve both diagnostics and patient care.

A lack of important consistency is evident from analyses now done with three widely used software packages, said Dr. Mathews Fish, medical director of nuclear cardiology at the Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute at Sacred Heart. Inconsistencies can occur, for example, he said, when comparing images done on over time or when results on a patient come from different labs. The study is believed to be the first head-to-head comparison of the commercially available software used in such cardiac-related diagnostics.

Cardiac SPECT is performed in conjunction with stress testing to compare blood flow to the heart muscle when patients are at rest or stressed. The images are analyzed using computer software. The study found significant differences in diagnostic performance and quantification of abnormalities in the state-of-the-art software packages being used for cardiac SPECT imaging.

Because of its high diagnostic accuracy in determining the presence of significant coronary artery disease and its ability to determine the risk of a heart attack, cardiac SPECT imaging has become a useful tool in the care of patients with suspected heart disease. Important management and treatment decisions are based not only on whether the test is abnormal, but also the degree of the abnormality, which is best determined by computer software.

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Oregon