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Arterial Calcium Scans Can Predict Death Risk
Date:6/23/2008

showing that someone might not need medication such as cholesterol-lowering statins, he said. "The cost is lower than the co-pay for a cholesterol pill for one year," Budoff said.

But Detrano disagreed. "That issue is still standing and still needs to be addressed, and not by a study that shows that it predicts all-cause mortality," he said.

Detrano noted that he has been working to bring better medical care to poor people in China. Americans might be able to afford calcium scanning, but "it is beyond the means of the great majority of people on this planet," he said.

Meanwhile, a study being published in the June 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine provided more proof of the value of calcium scanning. The study, done by a multi-institutional group and led by Dr. Aaron Folsom of the University of Minnesota, compared the prognostic value of calcium scans with measurements of the wall of the carotid artery, the major artery leading from the heart to the brain.

The study of almost 6,700 middle-aged and older Americans who were followed for up to five years found that "coronary artery calcium score is a better predictor of subsequent cardiovascular events than carotid intima-media thickness [measuring the artery's wall]," the researchers reported. But they noted that whether and how to clinically use bioimaging tests of early atherosclerosis remains a topic of debate.

More information

There's more on coronary calcification at the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Matthew Budoff, M.D., associate professor, medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif; Robert Detrano, M.D., professor, radiological sciences, University of California, Irvine; June 24, 2008, Archives of Internal Medicine; July 1, 2008, Journal of the American College of C
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