Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR), researchers say is a non-invasive test that can detect fatal heart disease. The test is also able to differentiate between the fatal cases and those that are not.
For the study, researchers from Duke University (US) examined data of close to 9,000 patients, who underwent CMR at various hospitals in the US. The CMR results showed those patients that were considered at low risk for heart disease based on clinical criteria, were found to me 3.4 times more likely to die compared to results from a normal MRI scan.
The team revealed the test is a non-toxic alternative to stress echocardiograms, catheterisations, as well as stress nuclear exams in diagnosing disease. "We've known for some time that CMR is effective at diagnosing coronary artery disease, but it's still not commonly used and represents less than one per cent of stress tests used in this country," Robert Judd, from Duke University, told a news portal. Adding, "One of the impediments to broader use has been a lack of data on its predictive value -- something competing technologies have."
The study also found a strong link between abnormal stress CMR and mortality. "With the findings from this study suggesting that stress CMR is effective in predicting mortality, we provide a strong basis for a head-to-head study between stress CMR and other modalities," Judd told a news portal. Adding, "Noninvasive cardiac stress testing is a cornerstone in the clinical management of patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease."