Coronary Calcium Scan: A Heart Test That Can Help Guide Treatment

by WDC News 6 Staff

In an editorial on “The Potential and Pitfalls of Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring,” revealed in JAMA Cardiology in October, Dr. Khan and her co-author, Dr. Ann Marie Navar, a heart specialist on the College of Texas Southwestern Medical College, concluded that for middle-aged and older adults like my good friend, the calcium take a look at is likely one of the greatest and most secure methods to establish the presence of in any other case hidden atherosclerosis.

Outcomes of a calcium scan can be necessary for youthful women and men — and typically for his or her physicians, who might not take danger components in youthful sufferers as significantly as they need to.

“Given the sturdy affiliation between coronary artery calcium and heart problems,” Drs. Khan and Navar wrote, “the presence of coronary artery calcium in younger adults must be a crimson flag for a high-risk affected person.” As Dr. Khan defined in an interview, “The presence of any calcium in coronary arteries is an indication of getting coronary heart illness.”

When atherosclerosis first begins to develop, the arterial lesions, known as plaque, will not be calcified, defined Dr. Philip Greenland, additionally a preventive heart specialist at Northwestern. Relatively, the lesions purchase the bony deposits over time that progressively improve when the plaque ruptures and is repaired. The therapeutic course of causes calcification, he stated.

Dr. Greenland cautioned that sufferers and medical doctors ought to by no means assume {that a} calcium rating of zero means there’s nothing to fret about. He stated that in males beneath 40 and ladies beneath 50, “you’ll be able to’t depend on coronary artery calcium alone, as a result of the extent is often zero even within the presence of atherosclerosis.”

Relatively, he and Dr. Kahn stated, in youthful adults, follow-up exams and medical recommendation must be based mostly on the extent of sufferers’ cardiovascular danger, together with whether or not they have any signs of coronary heart illness, like shortness of breath when climbing stairs or chest ache when exerting themselves.

Dr. Greenland stated that folks with “a low-risk issue profile and a calcium rating of zero have a type of guarantee that they gained’t have a coronary heart assault inside 10 years.”

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