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Heart CT scans in ER save hospitals money

The Baltimore Sun / Associated Press, March 27, 2012

Chest pain is the most common reason people visit the emergency room, yet 85 percent of the time, it is not related to a heart problem. The 2.5-year study of nearly 1,400 adults —about evenly divided between men and women—in five centers in Pennsylvania and North Carolina was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It showed that the rate of heart attack and heart-related deaths 30 days after discharge with a negative CT scan was less than 1 percent.Doing CT scans in emergency rooms saved $2,500 per patient, according to a study based on 2006-2007 data from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. It is usually used after the patient undergoes EKG, blood tests and nuclear stress tests.