Imaging technologies discussed, demonstrated at American College of Cardiology meeting

MARCH 30, 2009--"Word is getting out that more precise guidance during PCI [percutaneous coronary intervention] is important, and the sheer number of talks focused on higher resolution tools highlights the increased demand for access to these technologies," said Volcano Corp. (San Diego, CA) VP of marketing Joe Burnett. Burnett was referring to increased number of presentations on technologies such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) in the conference program at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Annual Meeting 2009 (March 29-31, Orlando, FL), which opened yesterday.

"Three years ago, you could flip through the ACC [American College of Cardiology] program and see a couple of presentations on intravascular assessment using IVUS [intravascular ultrasound] or FFR [fractional flow reserve measurement]. This year, there are more than 50 presentations, case reviews and abstracts focused on FFR, IVUS, OCT," and other visualization and quantization methods, Burnett noted.

According to the event's daily publication, Scientific Session News, former ACC President Pamela Douglas, M.D. said yesterday that imaging is growing faster than all other procedures, services and diagnostic tests. Dr. Douglas made her comments during a session titled "Quality Symposium on Appropriateness of Cardiovascular Tests and Procedures," wherein speakers noted that reducing the growth of health care spending is a high priority in the current political climate and that limiting the number of inappropriate imaging procedures will help reduce costs.

But Burnett indicated how the increased use of imaging and measurement technologies might help reduce costs: "The economic environment that our healthcare system faces is demanding that we target the right patients, and that we get it right the first time," he said.

SSN also quoted Dr. Douglas as saying that appropriate use criteria (AUC) can also help ensure optimal technology use to provide high quality of care because they measure whether use of a technology outweighs its risks. Given that the wavelengths of light used by OCT systems are non harmful, that approach should fare better than some other imaging methodologies.

"The strategy that relied on angiography alone is evolving to include better confirmation of disease severity and stenting technique," Burnett noted. As BioOptics World has reported, OCT offers huge benefit for visualizing the interior of coronary arteries for stent placement and plaque development.

By Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for BioOptics World.

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