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July 26, 2008 -- 2:40pm EDT

CT in the OC and the DC
A good and balanced piece about CT angiography (CTA) recently appeared not in the New York Times, but in the Orange County Register. Authored by Colin Stewart, who writes a regular column on "Biomedical Innovation", the article is titled, "CT scans save lives, might also cut costs and radiation exposure" -- and the title kind of says it all.

He has quotes from several OC sources, including Doug Ryan from CT manufacturer Toshiba (they're in Tustin, just down the freeway). But Stewart discusses the reality of the radiation situation and makes several good points, especially in light of all the negatively-skewed press (wag of finger) that CTA has recently gotten. We're also happy to see he's placed a link to our coverage as well (tip of hat).

Across the continent in Bethesda (well, not precisely DC, but close enough) the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the NIH just concluded a two-day panel of "All-Stars", according to Shelley Wood of the, to discuss the issues around cardiovascular imaging and diagnosis. Wood reports that the panel leaders, Drs. Allen Taylor and Michael Lauer, told her:

"...there was no squabbling among participants at the meeting to mirror the growing rift between imaging proponents and naysayers in the wider cardiology community."

Perhaps this get-together represented a cooling-off period, because last fall Dr. Lauer was a very vocal naysayer at the annual AHA meeting and expressed strong anti-CT comments. According to this report, also from, Lauer definitely squabbled, denouncing CTA and calling for a moratorium:

"We have a technology with no evidence of benefit; we have a technology with real concern for harm.... The time has come for the leadership of the cardiovascular community to have the courage to stop this and to change the paradigm by which imaging technologies are promoted."

So it will most interesting to see what Dr. Lauer et al come up with after last week's NIH panel in the way of official requests for studies or clinical trials.

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