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Medical News & Perspectives |

Researchers Argue Imaging Has Role in Assessing Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Mike Mitka
JAMA. 2009;301(19):1973-1974. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.670.
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Orlando, Fla—Nearly two-thirds of individuals who experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the United States had no prior symptoms nor realized that they had cardiovascular disease, underscoring the urgent need to improve heart risk assessment in asymptomatic patients.

Currently, the standard for evaluating patients is the National Cholesterol Education Program's (NCEP’s) risk assessment, which predicts likelihood that an individual will have a myocardial infarction or die of a coronary event within 10 years. This risk assessment, based on decades-long epidemiological research from the Framingham Heart Study, uses a group of factors—age, sex, cholesterol levels, systolic blood pressure, smoking status, and use of hypertension medications—to calculate an individual's risk of a cardiac event.

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Using computed tomography to identify coronary artery calcification (arrowhead) can help physicians decide whether to proceed with treatment for asymptomatic patients.

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