Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Heart calcium scan most effective in predicting risk of heart disease

Date:
August 21, 2012
Source:
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
Heart calcium scans are far superior to other assessment tools in predicting the development of cardiovascular disease in individuals currently classified at intermediate risk by their doctors, according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Heart calcium scans are far superior to other assessment tools in predicting the development of cardiovascular disease in individuals currently classified at intermediate risk by their doctors, according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The test, known as coronary artery calcium (CAC), uses a CT scan to detect calcium build-up in the arteries around the heart. The study findings are presented in the Aug. 22 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Current medical guidelines recommend classifying individuals as high, intermediate or low risk using the Framingham Risk Score (FRS), a cardiovascular risk-prediction model. However, doctors realize that the model isn't perfect and that the intermediate group actually includes some individuals who could benefit from more aggressive drug therapy, as well as individuals who could be managed solely with lifestyle measures.

"We know how to treat patients at low and high risk for heart disease, but for the estimated 23 million Americans who are at intermediate risk, we still are not certain about the best way to proceed," said Joseph Yeboah, M.D., assistant professor of cardiology at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study.

The Wake Forest Baptist study, which was funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, evaluated which of the top-tier assessment tools best identified people within the intermediate group who were actually at higher or lower risk. Determining the relative improvements in prediction afforded by various tests, especially when used in conjunction with the FRS, could help identify intermediate-risk people who may benefit from more aggressive primary prevention interventions, including the use of aspirin and the setting of lower targets for drug treatment of LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, Yeboah said.

Using data from the NHLBI's Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study, the researchers did a head-to-head comparison of six top assessment tests for cardiovascular risk prediction in intermediate-risk people: CAC score, ankle-brachial index, brachial flow mediated dilation, carotid intima-media thickness, high sensitivity C-reactive protein and family history of heart disease.

Of the 6,814 total MESA participants from six communities across the country, 1,330 were considered at intermediate risk and were included in this study. The researchers determined that the CAC score proved the best in predicting which among the intermediate-risk people would go on to have heart disease in the ensuing 7.5 years (average) of follow-up observation.

"If we want to concentrate our attention on the subset of intermediate-risk patients who are at the highest risk for cardiovascular disease, CAC is clearly the best tool we have in our arsenal to identify them. However, we have to look at other factors such as costs and risks associated with radiation exposure from a CT scan before deciding if everyone in the intermediate group should be screened," Yeboah said.

Additional research is needed to explore the costs, benefits and risks of widespread use of CAC screening in people at risk of heart disease, he said.

The study's co-authors are: Robyn L. McClelland, Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle; Tamar S. Polonsky, M.D., University of Chicago; Gregory L. Burke, M.D., Jeffery J. Carr, M.D., and David M. Herrington, M.D., Wake Forest Baptist; Christopher T. Sibley, M.D., National Institutes of Health; Daniel O'Leary, M.D., Tufts Medical Center; David C. Goff Jr., M.D., Ph.D., University of Colorado; and Philip Greenland, M.D., Northwestern University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "Heart calcium scan most effective in predicting risk of heart disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821212524.htm>.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. (2012, August 21). Heart calcium scan most effective in predicting risk of heart disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821212524.htm
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "Heart calcium scan most effective in predicting risk of heart disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821212524.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins