Computer tomography systems, also known as CT scanners, are found in most hospitals. They can be used for a simple investigation to rapidly determine whether a patient has cardiovascular disease — problems with calcification of the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen. The investigation is quick and the patient can go home immediately following the scan. If it is suspected that something is wrong, however, it means a significantly longer and more complicated investigation, where the patient must spend the night in a hospital.
A method was developed that uses the information already obtained from the CT scan to simulate the blood flow in a patient’s heart. In order to be certain that the images, which are calculated in a computer, agree accurately with reality, a dozen patients were asked to remain for a short time after a CT scan to undergo a further investigation using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The calculated images were compared with the actual results from the patients — the images were nearly identical.
Magnetic resonance cameras are effective but they are not available everywhere. The investigation is expensive and takes a significant amount of time. Also, patients cannot have any metal, like pacemakers, in their bodies. Since CT scanning is quick and easy, completely new patient groups can be reached. The motion of the heart muscle, its physiological condition, and its function can be analyzed while the patient is comfortable at home.