Simple heart scan ‘can identify if patients are at risk of dying in the next 15 years’, doctors say
Coronary artery calcification scan look for specks of calcium in arteries
These are known as calcifications and are an early sign of heart disease
Study: Scan for calcifications accurately predicted who would die from an early death from any cause up to 15 years after it was carried out
Scans could help identify people at risk of an early death, and they could be given lifestyle advice to potentially lengthen their lives, experts said
PUBLISHED: 16:19 GMT, 7 July 2015 | UPDATED: 16:30 GMT, 7 July 2015
A simple heart scan could help identify patients at risk of an early death, according to a study
A simple heart scan could help identify patients at risk of an early death, according to scientists.
A coronary artery calcification (CAC) scan can help doctors pick out patients who are likely to develop heart disease, a study found.
A CAC is an X-ray test that looks for specks of calcium in the walls of the coronary arteries.
These specks are called calcifications and are an early sign of coronary artery disease, a type of heart disease.
Professor Leslee Shaw, of Emory University School of Medicine collected and assessed CAC scores and data about risk factors for early death from 9,715 people between the years 1996 and 1999.
The patients, who were scanned as part a community-outreach screening programme at an outpatient clinic in Nashville, showed no symptoms of coronary artery disease at the time of the scans.
Approximately 86 per cent of the participants were white, eight per cent were African American, four per cent were Hispanic, and two per cent were Asian.
Researchers found that the score accurately predicted who would die from an early death, from all causes, within 15 years.
Furthermore, researchers said those people found at risk of an early death showed no symptoms at the time of their scans, 15 years earlier.
The authors suggest that CAC scanning could help identify patients at risk for early death.
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‘These findings give us a better understanding of the importance of coronary calcium scans to predict mortality,’ said Professor Shaw.
‘Patients with high calcium scores might be advised by their physicians to adopt healthier lifestyles, which could lead to better outcomes and potentially help lengthen their lives.’
Professor Shaw says CAC scores have been used to estimate patient’s prognosis for heart disease and early death from all causes in the short term, but this study’s long-term analysis is unique.
Coronary artery disease, is also known as coronary heart disease or simply heart disease.
The scan, called a coronary artery calcification (CAC), was able to predict early death from all causes accurately up to 15 years after it was carried out, researchers found (file photo)
According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 7.4 million people died of the condition in 2012.
Heart disease occurs when coronary arteries become clogged with plaques, fatty substances that cause the arteries to harden.
As well as angina (chest pain), the main symptoms of the disease are heart attacks and heart failure
However, not everyone has the same symptoms and some people may not have any before CHD is diagnosed.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3152370/Simple-heart-scan-identify-patients-risk-dying-15-years-doctors-say.html#ixzz3giLxo2RV
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