Coronary Calcium Scan: A Heart Test That Can Help Guide Treatment

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In an editorial on “The Potential and Pitfalls of Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring,” published in JAMA Cardiology in October, Dr. Khan and her co-author, Dr. Ann Marie Navar, a cardiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Professional medical Faculty, concluded that for center-aged and more mature older people like my pal, the calcium exam is a single of the finest and safest methods to establish the existence of usually concealed atherosclerosis.

Benefits of a calcium scan can also be crucial for young men and girls — and often for their medical professionals, who could not get danger components in younger patients as critically as they should really.

“Given the sturdy association among coronary artery calcium and cardiovascular disorder,” Drs. Khan and Navar wrote, “the presence of coronary artery calcium in younger grownups ought to be a crimson flag for a significant-threat affected person.” As Dr. Khan described in an job interview, “The existence of any calcium in coronary arteries is a sign of owning coronary heart ailment.”

When atherosclerosis first starts off to establish, the arterial lesions, identified as plaque, are not calcified, discussed Dr. Philip Greenland, also a preventive cardiologist at Northwestern. Somewhat, the lesions obtain the bony deposits above time that step by step maximize when the plaque ruptures and is repaired. The therapeutic process brings about calcification, he mentioned.

Dr. Greenland cautioned that clients and medical practitioners should really never ever presume that a calcium rating of zero suggests there is nothing to get worried about. He explained that in adult males less than 40 and girls below 50, “you simply cannot count on coronary artery calcium by yourself, mainly because the degree is ordinarily zero even in the presence of atherosclerosis.”

Fairly, he and Dr. Kahn mentioned, in young grownups, abide by-up checks and health care information should really be based on the extent of patients’ cardiovascular risk, like no matter if they have any indications of heart condition, like shortness of breath when climbing stairs or chest agony when exerting themselves.

Dr. Greenland claimed that individuals with “a small-possibility issue profile and a calcium rating of zero have a variety of warranty that they will not have a coronary heart assault in just 10 decades.”