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Heart attack risk differs between men and women
Date:11/29/2011

CHICAGO Findings on coronary CT angiography (CTA), a noninvasive test to assess the coronary arteries for blockages, show different risk scenarios for men and women, according to a study presented today at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. It is caused by a build-up of fat and other substances that form plaque on vessel walls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.

Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina analyzed the results of coronary CTA on 480 patients, mean age 55, with acute chest pain. Approximately 65 percent of the patients were women, and 35 percent were men. The possibility of acute coronary syndrome was ruled out for each of the patients.

Using coronary CTA, the researchers were able to determine the number of vessel segments with plaque, the severity of the blockage and the composition of the plaque.

"The latest CT scanners are able to produce images that allow us to determine whether the plaque is calcified, non-calcified or mixed," said John W. Nance Jr., M.D., currently a radiology resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md.

By comparing the coronary CTA results with outcome data over a 12.8-month follow-up period, the researchers were able to correlate the extent, severity and type of plaque build-up with the occurrence of major adverse cardiac events, such as a heart attack or coronary bypass surgery. The statistical analysis tested all plaques combined (calcified, non-calcified and mixed) and each individual plaque type separately.

"We found that the risks for cardiovascular events associated with plaque were significantly different between women and men," Dr. Nance said.

Within the follow-up period, 70 of the patients experience
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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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