Elmhurst Memorial using a “better, more cost effective” test for ER patients with chest pain
Elmhurst Memorial Hospital (EMH) is leading the way in the Chicago area with use of Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA) to assess chest pain in patients who come to the hospital’s Emergency Department.
Daniel Sullivan, MD, cardiologist and VP, Medical Affairs/Chief Medical Officer, Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare, calls CCTA the most complete test in cardiology, and says studies suggest it is a better test and more cost effective than traditional stress tests to assess chest pain in ER patients.
“The Cardiac CT Angiogram gives us a look at a patient’s arteries very similar to an invasive angiogram,” says Dr. Sullivan. “It also gives us much more information about all the structures of the heart. It can be seen in 3D and 2D, and it can help us locate coronary disease and many other diseases.”
Dr. Sullivan says CCTA is a procedure that’s also used electively on patients who have had inconclusive stress tests.
CCTA is a non-invasive procedure in which an imaging contrast is injected through an intravenous (IV) line in the patient’s arm. The contrast allows the CT scanner to produce images that show the presence and extent of heart disease, which helps doctors determine a patient’s course of treatment.
Use of CCTA is dependent on a cardiologist who has been appropriately trained and can read the CCTA’s images. Dr. Sullivan and EMH believe so strongly in CCTA that they’re planning to become a Chicago area training site so cardiologists can learn the procedure.
EMH hosted a three-day CCTA training program in October 2013. It’s the type of training that typically takes place in a university setting, not a community hospital.
Along with Dr. Sullivan, the featured instructors were interventional cardiologist Tony DeFrance, MD, FACC, FSCCT, SCCT Board of Directors, National Director of SCCT Workgroups and Clinical Associate Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, and Carter Newton, MD, FACC, FSCCT, a board certified cardiologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Cardiology and Radiology at the University of Arizona School of Medicine and UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.
Sixteen cardiologists on the medical staffs at EMH and Edward Hospital, primarily representing Midwest Heart-Advocate Medical Group and DuPage Medical Group, took part in the program.
“Eventually we’d like to start training people outside our own geography,” says Dr. Sullivan. “We’d like to be a training center for all cardiologists, because we believe use of cardiac CT angiography is going to increase and become the gold standard for a lot of the diagnostics toward chest pain.”