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Increased screening may better predict those at higher risk for heart disease, researchers report
Date:5/26/2008

ng than is currently recommended. Whether increased imaging of patients will be cost effective in the long term remains to be seen, Dr. de Lemos said.

We cant say what would happen in terms of clinical outcomes, but in terms of risk assessment we can provide a model of how these guidelines would impact treatment, Dr. de Lemos said. We found that for every seven people who had calcium imaging, one needed to readjust cholesterol goals to lower levels.

Coronary calcium scans use computerized tomography (CT) to scan the heart and look for calcium deposits and blockages. The risk of coronary heart disease increases with higher calcium scores.

Calcium buildup can lead to atherosclerosis, a metabolic and inflammatory disease that causes plaque to accumulate in the arteries.

Dr. Scott Grundy, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at UT Southwestern and an author on the Archives paper, served as chairman of the NCEP panel which updated the guidelines for the clinical use of cholesterol-lowering medications to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Current NCEP guidelines identify three categories of risk based on a person's likelihood to develop cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke) in the near future: high risk, moderately high risk, and lower to moderate risk. High-risk individuals are those who have already had a heart attack; cardiac chest pain (angina); previous angioplasty or bypass surgery; obstructed blood vessels to the arms, legs or brain; diabetes; or a collection of other risk factors that raise the likelihood of having a heart attack in the next 10 years by more than 20 percent.

The proportion of participants identified as not meeting their cholesterol goals increased with age, with the greatest net increase among people ages 55 to 65 years old.


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Contact: Katherine Morales
katherine.morales@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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