[Test could help ID heart attack patients]

Author: Bryan (---.bos.east.verizon.net)

Date: 12-09-02 16:48

Test could help ID heart attack patients

by Michael Lasalandra

Wednesday, December 4, 2002

A simple, inexpensive test could help to ease the crunch in the nation's overcrowded hospitals and emergency rooms, researchers at Tufts-New England Medical Center are reporting today.

In a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a test known as myocardial perfusion imaging was found to be able to quickly determine which patients with chest pains are having heart attacks and which are not.

``It's a relatively simple, already widely available test that can help physicians in emergency rooms make better decisions,'' said Dr. James Udelson.

The study said more than 6 million people show up at emergency rooms each year with chest pain.

``In the Boston area, particularly at this time of year, we know hospitals are full and ERs are backed up and on diversion,'' he said.

In the $300 test, the patient is injected with a radioactive isotope that lets doctors monitor the heart's pumping ability and see how much blood is flowing to it.

In most cases, when a patient comes to the ER with chest pains, doctors run an electrocardiogram (EKG) test. In about one-third of cases, the test quickly confirms a heart attack, and the patient is admitted for surgery or angioplasty.

But in the bulk of cases, the test is inconclusive. Such patients are given blood tests to detect proteins associated with heart damage, stress tests and are usually admitted for observation.

``So many get unnecessarily admitted,'' Udelson said.

Such admissions are taking up valuable spaces in already crowded hospitals, he said. Prior to their admissions, they are helping to clog up already backed-up ERs.

The study estimates widespread use of the test in emergency settings could prevent unnecessary hospital admissions for about a quarter million people in the United States each year.

Usually, the test is only given in non-emergency settings as part of a stress test.

The study found that unnecessary hospital admissions were reduced by 20 percent among the patients on whom imaging was used.

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[Re: Test could help ID heart attack patients]

Author: Lisa Salberg (---.dyn.optonline.net)

Date: 12-12-02 15:03

Hey I missed this posting earlier...opps.

Just for the record Dr. Udleson is one of the "good guys" in HCM! Leave it to him for working hard to keep us out of the hospital and on with our lives! Nice work!

Lisa

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[Re: Test could help ID heart attack patients]

Author: Mary S. (---.net273.fl.sprint-hsd.net)

Date: 12-12-02 19:22

Dr. Udelson rocks! For the first time in a year I am back to my normal self. Well close to my normal self.

Mary S.

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[Re: Test could help ID heart attack patients]

Author: Lisa Salberg (---.dyn.optonline.net)

Date: 12-16-02 14:26

Normal... Mary I met you.. and how would you define "normal"

Sorry bad joke but well... you put it out there!

Lisa

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[Re: Test could help ID heart attack patients]

Author: Mary S. (---.net307.fl.sprint-hsd.net)

Date: 12-16-02 18:45

Okay! Okay! You got me on that one I am definately not normal. As my friend John would say you're too hard headed and stubborn to be normal.

But it was the nicest thing about a week ago when John came over to me gave me a big hug and said it was nice to have Mary back. It was the greatest feeling in the world. At the beginning I thought this disease had changed me but for the bad. My mood was not the best and I was having a hard time adjusting. But John was patient with me and gave me all the love and compassion I could ask of a friend. I don't know how many times I soaked his shirt with my tears. But he always kept me hanging in there.

If there is one thing I have learned so far through this ordeal is who my real friends are. And I thank god for them every day!

Mary S.

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[Re: Test could help ID heart attack patients]

Author: Lisa Salberg (---.dyn.optonline.net)

Date: 12-17-02 05:29

He does sound like a TRUE friend and they are HARD to find...Hold on to him!

Someday maybe I will get the chance to meet him..AHA is in Orlando Next year!

Lisa

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[Re: Test could help ID heart attack patients]

Author: Mary S. (---.net297.fl.sprint-hsd.net)

Date: 12-17-02 17:26

I guess we better to get to work on those tickets and stuff like that! After all of my finals are done I'll do some asking around!

mary S.