• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Greener, more natural body scan available

August 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
CT scans help save the lives of heart patients every day, but getting one isn't always comfortable. Many patients are concerned about the cumulative effect of radiation, and then there's the contrasting agent."It's an IV or an injection and sometimes you can have a bad reaction to it," said Peter Rizzo, a heart attack survivor.

It even made Rizzo nauseous. The 40-year-old had a heart attack eight months ago and he's been getting scans ever since.

But at Westside Medical Imaging in Beverly Hills, doctors are now scanning his heart with new technology.

"I just kinda went in, it was 15 minutes in the MRI and we were done," said Rizzo.

No dyes and no radiation.

"We actually were able using technology to turn the blood -- the patient's own blood -- into the contrast agent," said Dr. Norman Lepor, co-founder of Westside Medical Associates of Los Angeles and Westside Medical Imaging.

Dr. Lepor says advanced software is allowing his team to capture images using magnetic resonance imaging.

"If you can do this type of quality imaging without any x-ray exposure and without any contrast exposure, I think you've gone a long way in terms of getting to that point where we call green imaging," said Dr. Lepor.

Experts say CT scans will always have an important place in medicine, so if you're a patient and you're concerned about taking one it's important to ask your doctor why it's necessary.

"There are times when you do need to get the CT scan for instance and you should do it without hesitation," said Dr. Lepor.

Rizzo will get a CT scan if he needs to, but he's enjoying the benefits of the new MRI.

"I think it makes it easier for the patients to get in and out," said Rizzo.

Only a few centers are using this new technology, but Dr. Lepor expects more centers will follow.


Load Comments