London: A five-year study by the University of Leeds involving 752 patients has shown that a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is a more reliable way of detecting signs of coronary heart disease (CHD)than the most commonly-used invasive and imaging tests.

"We have shown convincingly that MRI is better than the more commonly-used SPECT imaging test (involving ionising radiation)," said study leader John Greenwood of Leeds University.

"As well as being more accurate, it has the advantage of not using any ionising radiation, sparing patients and health professionals from unnecessary exposure," said Greenwood, according to a Leeds statement.

Triggered by blocked artieries, CHD is a leading cause of death worldwide. In the US alone it affects an estimated 18 million men and women.

Blockage of the arteries serving the heart can lead to severe chest pain, known as angina. If the condition worsens and remains untreated, patients may have a heart attack.

Suspected angina patients are most likely to go through an angiogram, an invasive test where dye is injected directly into the heart's arteries, or a non-invasive imaging test called SPECT. Unlike MRI scans, both angiograms and SPECT tests involve ionising radiation.


(Agencies)