Scanning for Stroke Prevention

One of the biggest health concerns facing Americans today is the risk of a stroke. In order to prevent a stroke, people often turn towards imaging technology that is designed to check for blockages in the arteries. There are several different options for getting a carotid artery scan including an ultrasound and an MRI. However the most common method of scanning for blockages is through the use of a CT angiography. Computerized tomographic angiography, also called CT angiography (CTA), is a radiological test that combines the technology of a conventional CT scan with that of traditional angiography to create detailed images of the blood vessels in the body. It uses X-ray technology to check out what's going on in the body so that doctors can identify problem areas and assist you in reducing the likelihood that you will suffer from a stroke. However, there have been some concerns about the levels of radiation that are fiven off during the use of the CTA. This is complicated by the fact that there are different types of CTA scanning machines which may deliver different levels of radiation.
"There are conflicting reports regarding the radiation doses delivered by 64-slice CT and dual-source CT -- especially concerning an increasingly common application with a worrisome dose profile: retrospectively gated coronary CT angiography (CTA)." (source)
Studies have recently revealed that the difference between the two types of scanning technology in regards to the level of radiation are probably more dependent on the patient than on the technology itself. The patient's heart rate seems to be a bigger factor in the levels of radiation than does the type of scanning machine used. Essentially, someone with a lower heart rate can use either kind of scan but someone with a higher heart rate will want to use the dual-source CT. Question of the Day: What questions would you ask your doctor before getting a CTA to prevent strokes? photo link
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