OAK BROOK, Ill. A new calcium scoring method may better predict a persons risk of heart attack, according to a new multicenter study published in the June issue of the journal Radiology. Calcium coverage scoring takes into account not only the amount of calcified plaque build-up in the coronary arteries, but also its distribution.
Now we know that the location of the calcium in the arteries is particularly important in estimating a patients potential risk, said the studys lead author Elizabeth Brown, Sc.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Each year, 700,000 Americans die of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common form of heart disease in the U.S. is coronary artery disease, which is caused by a build-up of calcific plaque in the coronary arteries leading to the heart. The current standard of coronary calcium measurement gauges only the amount of calcium present in the arteries, not its spatial distribution.
Currently, physicians only see the result in terms of an overall score designed to measure the amount of calcified plaque, Dr. Brown said. This new approach will provide physicians with a measure of the proportion of the arteries affected.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) began in July 2000. The prospective study included 6,814 men and women between the ages of 45 and 84. The researchers compared CT image data for 3,252 participants with calcific plaque to data collected from 3,416 patients without calcific plaque. (Due to lack of sufficient CT image data, 146 additional MESA participants were excluded from this analysis.) A calcium coverage score was developed to estimate the percentage of coronary arteries affected by plaque.
The patients were then followed up for a median period of 41 months to determine if there
|Contact: Linda Brooks|
Radiological Society of North America