Scanning the heart's arteries for calcium deposits might be one of the best ways to predict the overall risk of death for adults with cardiac trouble, a new study suggests. This might also help end the controversial discussions about calcium scans.
So-called calcium scans are controversial. It is a very expensive method sometimes promoted by for-profit centers. But a new study from the Habor-UCLA Medical Center published in the July issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology might bring this discussion to an end.
Metthew Budoff, associate professor of medicine, and his colleagues found out that measuring the small calcium deposits of heart’s arteries can accuratly predict the patient’s death risk.
A calcium scan looks for calcification – or a hardening of the arteries caused by high blood fats and calcium deposits – in the arteries leading to and from the heart. These calcifications can block blood vessels andcause heart attacks, strokes or other health issues.
Previous studies already found coronary arterial calcium scans were effective tools for determining the overall death risk in young adults, diabetics, smokers and those suffering from renal failure. „But our investigation indicates coronary arterial scans are effective in measuring overall death risk in the elderly,“ Budoff said.
Researchers studied 35,383 adults, aged 40 to 80, in Torrance, CA and Nashville, TN, for an average of 5.8 years after having a coronary artery calcium scan. Among these research volunteers, 3,570 were age 70 or
older. In total, 838 deaths were recorded, 320 in women and 518 in men. The study found the overall death risk was higher among those with higher coronary arterial calcium scores.
“This study provides additional validation of coronary calcium studies,” said Dr. Budoff. “Coronary arterial calcium scans can be very useful tools in assessing a patient’s overall death risk. With this information,
physicians can advise patients on diet, medications, exercise and other lifestyle changes that will help them avoid the risk of heart attack, strokes and other health problems.”
About LA Biomed:
Founded 56 years ago, LA BioMed is one of the country’s largest not-for-profit independent biomedical research institutes. It conducts biomedical research, trains young scientists and provides community
services, including childhood immunization, nutrition assistance and anti-gang violence programs. The institute’s researchers conduct studies in such areas as cardio-vascular disease, emerging infections,
LA BioMed is an independent institute that is academically affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The institute is located on the campus of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center near Torrance.
Picture: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research