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Pictures of the heart.

IF Academy Awards were given for medical devices, this year's Oscar for best technical achievement might go to something called cine CT, an imaging procedure that takes stop-action photos of the beating heart.

There are already five cine CT machines operating in the United States, says cardiologist Melvin L. Marcus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where one of them is located. He and his colleagues have used theirs to measure blood flow through grafted coronary arteries. Such measurements cannot otherwise be obtained, except through catheterization, an expensive and invasive procedure.

By using density formulas, cardiologists can measure the actual weights of different parts of the heart with 98 percent accuracy, he says. And cine CT has also enabled surgeons to find holes in the hearts of children with congenital heart defects before surgery.

The CT stands for computed tomography, the souped-up X-ray technique that uses computer analysis to yield precise cross-sectional images. X-rays in conventional CT machines are generated by a tube that rotates around the subject, and an image requires a 1-to 2-second exposure.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has also developed a machine capable of imaging the beating heart. Called the dynamic spatial reconstructor (SN: 11/1/80, p.284), it relies on X-ray tubes placed around the body. But there are no plans to market the Mayo machine, which was designed for research purposes.

The cine CT, developed by Douglas Boyd of the University of California at San Francisco, who now heads a company called Imatron, Inc., uses a rotating electron beam to hit tungsten rings and generate X-rays.
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Title Annotation:cine computed tomography imaging procedure
Author:Silberner, Joanne
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 25, 1986
Words:266
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