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Coronary Calcium Scans Can Raise Cancer Risks
Date:7/13/2009

essive therapy should be," Einstein said. "For such patients, it is a fantastic test."

"In my practice I use it for patients with no symptoms but an unfavorable risk factor profile," Gerber said. "If there are risk factors but they are adamant about not changing their lifestyle or taking coronary medication, I think it sometimes helps patients realize their coronary atherosclerosis [hardening of the arteries] has begun."

A definitive study of the risk-benefit ratio of CAC scanning is unlikely, Einstein said. The people in question are not at high risk of heart disease, and "the rarer an event is, the larger the sample size that is needed," he said. "A randomized controlled trial would require hundreds of thousands or millions of patients, with adequate follow-up."

More information

For more on coronary calcium scans, go to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.



SOURCES: Andrew J. Einstein, M.D., assistant professor, clinical medicine, and director, cardiac computed tomography research, Columbia University, New York City; Thomas G. Gerber, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, medicine and radiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; July 13, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine


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