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Calcium Scan Best Heart Risk Diagnosis Tool: Study

heart 042712 24Aug12

A new study of six methods of determining a patient's risk for heart disease has shown a CT scan of calcium build-up in the arteries around the heart might be the most accurate test.

The new study from researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina reviewed the effectiveness of six different heart disease indicators, including coronary calcium buildup (CAC), blood pressure in the arms and legs, carotid artery thickness, blood vessel health and family history of heart disease.

According to lead researcher Joseph Yeboah, any of these indicators could help improve the current standard of heart disease prediction, known as the Framingham Risk Score (FRS).

"We know how to treat patients at low and high risk for heart disease, but for the estimated 28 million Americans who are at intermediate risk, we still are not certain about the best way to proceed," he explained in a news release.

"If we want to concentrate our attention on the subset of intermediate-risk patients who are at the highest risk for cardiovascular disease, CAC is clearly the best tool we have in our arsenal to identify them."

The study included health records of over 6,000 patients collected as part of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). The data was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA.

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