Coronary calcium screening better predicts heart disease risk, research finds

Coronary calcium screening better predicts heart disease risk, research finds
Last year, President Donald Trump’s doctors screened him for heart disease using a test unfamiliar to many Americans. Now, research shows that that test, either alone or combined with other evaluation methods, is better at predicting whether a symptomatic patient required heart surgery than the standard evaluation. The test, a scan for coronary artery calcium or CAC, provides patients with a simple score or a quantifiable measure of how hardened their arteries have become. By contrast, the standard evaluation that doctors use to measure heart disease risk includes blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body weight, and blood glucose and lifestyle factors, such as smoking status. “If you’re concerned about your risk of heart disease, then you should ask your doctor about the coronary artery calcium score,” said Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, lead author of the new study, presented Monday at the American Heart Association Scientific Session conference. He is also a clinical and research physician and past director of cardiovascular research at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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