Are too many angiograms being performed on patients without CAD?

Tim Henry, M.D.

[Cardiovascular Business, March 11, 2010] Slightly more than one-third of patients without known disease, who underwent elective cardiac catheterization, had obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) out of nearly 400,000 patients at 663 sites, based on study findings published March 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine. However, in an interview, Timothy D. Henry, MD, from Minneapolis Heart Institute, said that when reviewing the study’s data in its entirety, it appears that most practices are performing these procedures properly.

“To start with, 80 percent of the patients had known coronary disease, acute coronary syndromes, cardiogenic shock or another clear indication for the procedure,” explained Henry, who is the director of research at Minneapolis Heart. “Of the remaining 20 percent without known CAD, 35 percent were found to have significant CAD, leaving only about 12 percent of the overall patient population with ‘normal’ coronaries.”

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