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High Calcium Level in Arteries May Signal Serious Heart Attack Risk
Date:7/28/2009

Researchers may be able to predict future severe cardiac events in patients with known, stable coronary artery disease (CAD) using coronary calcium scoring, according to a study published in the online edition of Radiology.

Oak Brook, Ill. (Vocus) July 28, 2009 -- Researchers may be able to predict future severe cardiac events in patients with known, stable coronary artery disease (CAD) using coronary calcium scoring, according to a study published in the online edition of Radiology.

"The amount of calcium in the coronary vessels, as measured by CT, is of high predictive value for subsequent serious or fatal heart attack in these patients, independent of the patient's age, sex and other coronary risk factors," said the study's lead author, Marcus Hacker, M.D., resident physician in the Department of Nuclear Medicine, leader of the research unit for nuclear cardiology and assistant medical director at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.

CAD is the most common type of heart disease. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, it is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women, killing more than 500,000 Americans each year.

CAD is a condition in which plaque, consisting of cholesterol, calcium, fat and other substances, builds up inside the arteries that supply blood to the heart. When plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, blood flow to the heart is reduced and may lead to arrhythmia, heart attack or heart failure.

Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) myocardial perfusion imaging is a nuclear medicine diagnostic procedure that provides excellent three-dimensional imag
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