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Chest CT helps predict cardiovascular disease risk
Date:5/26/2014

OAK BROOK, Ill. Incidental chest computed tomography (CT) findings can help identify individuals at risk for future heart attacks and other cardiovascular events, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

"In addition to diagnostic purposes, chest CT can be used for the prediction of cardiovascular disease," said Pushpa M. Jairam, M.D., Ph.D., from the University Medical Center Utrecht, in Utrecht, the Netherlands. "With this study, we have taken a new perspective by providing a different approach for cardiovascular disease risk prediction strictly based on information readily available to the radiologist."

Currently, individuals at high risk for cardiovascular events are identified through risk stratification tools based on conventional risk factors, such as age, gender, blood pressure, cholestorol levels, diabetes, smoking status or other factors thought to be related to heart disease. However, a substantial number of cardiovascular events occur in individuals with no conventional risk factors, or in patients with undetected or underdiagnosed risk factors.

"Extensive literature has clearly documented the uncertainty of prediction models based on conventional risk factors," Dr. Jairam said. "With this study, we address to some extent, the need for a shift in cardiovascular risk assessment from conventional risk factors to direct measures of subclinical atherosclerosis."

Through the use of chest CT, radiologists are routinely confronted with findings that are unsuspected or unrelated to the CT indication, known as incidental findings. Incidental findings indicating early signs of atherosclerosis are quite common and could play a role in a population-based screening approach to identify individuals at high risk for cardiovascular events. However, there is currently no guidance on how to weigh these findings in routine practice.

Dr. Jairam and colleagues set out to develop and
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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert  

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