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CT scans showing plaques are predictors for coronary heart disease

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A new study carried out at Henry Ford Hospital, said that the presence of a plaque on a CT scan made to the abdomen Abdomen_CThas a strong prediction of coronary artery disease and even mortality.

Researchers mentioned that they found that patients are about 60 % at risk of suffering coronary artery disease when the CT scan identify high levels of abdominal aortic calcium, which is commonly referred to as plaque. These high levels of the abdominal aortic calcium elevate the risk of death as well.

On the other hand, researchers said that the lack of abdominal aortic calcium, or AAC, was related to lower risks of coronary artery disease, which is a chronic, progressive type of heart disease that is caused by formation of plaque in the arteries located on the surface of the heart. The study was spotlighted at the 59th annual American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in Atlanta. Dr. Mouaz Al-Mallah, M.D., director of Cardiac Imaging Research at Henry Ford and lead author of the study said "If you get a CT scan on your abdomen, there's probably a good chance that image can provide us with more information about the health of your heart arteries," he added "This study clearly demonstrates that higher scores of abdominal aortic calcium are associated with higher rates of coronary artery disease and mortality."

Previous study mentioned that coronary artery calcium identified by CT is significantly related to coronary artery disease and high mortality rate. Yet, little is known about the risk correlation between AAC and coronary artery disease. The researchers at Henry Ford checked 367 patients who had an abdominal CT and undergone cardiac catheterization during one year between (Jan 2004-May 2009). These patients had a 58% risk of suffering coronary artery disease with an AAC score over 1,000 in comparison to patients who had only 11% risk having an AAC score of zero. A higher ACC score was related also to a higher risk of mortality. Dr. Al-Mallah mentioned that "If you have heart disease and abdominal aortic calcifications, your chance of dying is higher than just having heart disease alone,"

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