New test could mean shorter hospital stay for women

Updated:Jun 25,2013

A new imaging test may be an option for women who end up in the emergency room with chest pain, according to a study in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

The test is called cardiac computed tomographic angiography (CCTA). It takes a picture of the inside of blood vessels, so doctors can see if there is fatty buildup in them, which  may not be seen during regular stress testing.

People who were evaluated in an emergency room for chest pain and were given the CCTA test were admitted to the hospital less often and released sooner than those who had traditional care for heart attack. Researchers say CCTA may be more beneficial in women under the age of 65 years, as they tended to have less build-up in their coronary arteries compared to men of the same age. Seeing inside your artery will let doctors know if further testing is needed, and if patients may be released sooner. CCTA is available at most major hospitals as an alternative to other emergency department procedures.

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