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Calcium in Arterial Plaque is a Good Indicator for Risk of Stroke

e clearing surgery to prevent stroke. The new findings suggest that calcification percentages should also be considered. According to Dr. Kramer, prospective studies of patients who have not yet developed symptoms are needed to confirm the diagnostic value of calcified plaque measurements.

The UVa researchers believe that improved risk assessments for stroke will lead to better decisions about when to intervene surgically. Even though plaque-removal procedures save many lives each year, they can cause complications and in some cases result in stroke or death.

The study included images taken with multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) from January 2004 to May 2006. MDCT is considered a promising method for evaluating atherosclerotic plaque because of its high resolution and ability to assess calcium. Since it is noninvasive, MDCT may be an effective way to screen patients with significant blockages to determine who requires preventive surgery and who does not.

The researchers assessed MDCT images of patients with artery blockages of 50 percent or more. The study group included 35 patients who had suffered a stroke or had other neurological symptoms. The remaining 67 had no history of symptoms.



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