Better imaging capabilities for heart, blood vessels allows earlier detection of problems

SINGAPORE - Being able to capture better images of the heart and blood vessels means that doctors can pick up problems earlier - a crucial ability in a population plagued by cardiovascular problems, said Associate Professor Benjamin Ong on Friday morning (Aug 5).

Prof Ong, who is Director of Medical Services at the Health Ministry, was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Asian Society of Cardiovascular Imaging Congress.

For example, he said, one in three deaths here in 2014 were due to either heart disease or stroke. Ischaemic heart disease was also the third-most common cause of hospitalisation between 2012 and 2014.

"This is a cause for concern for Singapore's greying population, as we will potentially see a growing number of seniors living with health problems caused by cardiovascular diseases," Prof Ong said.

He stressed that medical research and technological advancements, including the proper use of cardiovascular imaging, can help "improve the diagnosis and guide the management of cardiovascular diseases". For instance, newer CT technology is able to reduce radiation exposure by up to 90 per cent while remaining very accurate.

The conference, which ends on Aug 6, was jointly organised by the Singapore Cardiac and Radiological Societies. Attended by more than 700 participants, it addresses topics such as the new technologies available to image the heart.