Coronary Calcium Score good indicator for long-term heart health

Five new studies bolster evidence for coronary artery calcium scans (“CACS”) as assessment tool. The test appears to provide an early indication of a person’s long-term risk for heart disease.
The studies were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

CACS is a test that measures the amount and pattern of calcium that has accumulated in a patient’s coronary arteries. Coronary artery calcium is an early sign of coronary heart disease, which is the number one cause of death for both men and women in North America.

This test has been available for years and some of the new studies have tracked patients for 10 years or more. The studies have shown that CACS are better at predicting long-term heart problems than other available tests — particularly when looking at low-risk patients.

The studies were conducted at leading research hospitals including Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s-Roosevelt in New York and Harbour UCLA in Los Angeles.

Canada Diagnostic has been providing Multi-Detector CT CACS since 2002. Its a quick, easy non-invasive way to assess your coronary arteries for early signs of disease. Click here to learn more about all of our atherosclerosis screening tests.

  Filed under: Categories: Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular, CT Scans, Early Detection, Heart Disease, Heart Scans, and Screening Exams. Tags: CT Vancouver, Heart Scans, Heart screening, Private MRI Vancouver, and Vancouver MRI.
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Lung Cancer Screening for High Risk Individuals

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) approved annual screening with low-dose CT for individuals at high risk for lung cancer.

The task force recommended annual scans for adults aged 55 to 80 who have a smoking history of 30 pack-years (= 1pack/day for 30 years, 2 packs/day for 15 years) and who currently smoke or who have quit within the past 15 years and who have no symptoms of lung cancer.

The recommendations are in large part based on the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) in the United States, which compared lung cancer screening methods (chest xray vs. CT scans) in current and former smokers. The results showed that people who received low-dose CT scans had a lower risk of dying from lung cancer than people who received standard chest X-rays.

The USPSTF’s recommendation is on par with previous recommendations for screening for breast, colon and cervical cancers – for which survival has increased dramatically following wide-spread screening programs. it is felt that the adoption of CT screening for lung cancer will have a “moderate-to-substantial benefit” in reducing mortality in high-risk individuals.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, Lung Cancer is the second-most frequently diagnosed cancer (after skin cancer) in Canada, and is the leading cause of cancer death in Canadians. Approximately 1 in 11 men, and 1 in 15 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer during their lifetime.

Canada Diagnostic has been providing low-dose CT screening exams for lung cancer since 2002. We also provide screening exams for colon cancer, coronary artery disease and carotid artery disease. If you think that a screening exam might be right for you, talk to your doctor. We would be happy to tell you more about these screening exams – you can call us at 604-709-8522 or visit our Screening Exam webpage here.

  Filed under: Categories: Atherosclerosis, CT Scans, Early Detection, Lung Cancer, and Screening Exams. Tags: CT Scans, early detection, Lung Cancer Screening, and screening.
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Our radiologists’ research featured at international conference

The Radiological Society of North America (“RSNA”) is holding its annual international conference in Chicago this week.  Canada Diagnostic Centres is very proud that three of our radiologists have research that is being presented at this high-profile conference.

The RSNA Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting has 53,000 attendees from around the world.  The Scientific Assembly is considered the premiere scientific radiology forum in the world – providing the most up-to-date and leading edge research into all aspects of radiology.

Drs. Bruce Forster and Gordon Andrews are contributing authors to research posters on musculo-skeletal imaging and improving CT reporting for radiology residents.  Dr. Forster is also moderating and presenting at an educational session on elbow/hand/wrist imaging.

Dr. Hugue Ouellette, our Medical Director is a contributing author to eight research papers which have been accepted for presentation at this year’s Assembly.  His topics include musculo-skeletal imaging and radiology in emergency settings.

Our radiologists’ research was conducted at UBC Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital – facilities where they also work, teach and research.

We’re very proud of the work our radiologists do both at Canada Diagnostic and our local teaching hospitals – and we would like to congratulate them on their contributions to this year’s RSNA Scientific Assembly.

If you are considering a private MRI, CT or Ultrasound exam, we would be happy to help.  To learn more about our services, please visit our website or call us at 1-877-709-8522.

  Filed under: Categories: CDC News, CT Scans, MRI Scans, MSK, Orthopedic, and Sport Medicine. Tags: Canada Diagnostic Vancouver, MRI, MRI Vancouver, Private CT, Private CT Scan Vancouver, Private MRI, and sport medicine.
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What’s your risk of heart attack? Should you get tested?

CardioSmart, by the American College of Cardiology, has an excellent overview of a Coronary Artery Calcium Score test and some great advice as to whether you should get tested or not.

A coronary calcium scan checks for calcium buildup in the coronary arteries. Calcium in these arteries is a sign of heart disease. A high score on a calcium scan can mean that you have a higher chance of having a heart attack than someone with a low score.

The results of a coronary calcium scan may prompt you to make some lifestyle changes, such as exercising, eating better, and quitting smoking. But if you’re worried about heart disease, you can do these things even if you don’t have this test.

People who are at medium risk for heart disease will get the most benefit from this test. Medium risk means that you have a 10% to 20% chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years, based on your risk factors. You can be at medium risk and not have any symptoms of heart disease. Knowing your risk for a heart attack is a key part of your decision to get a scan. Take the online quiz here.

A calcium scan can give your doctor more information about your risk for heart disease. A high score might prompt your doctor to start or change treatment to help you avoid a heart attack.
You could get a high score from the test even if your arteries aren’t blocked. This could lead to other tests or treatments that you don’t need.

Not all blocked arteries have calcium. So you could get a low calcium score and still be at risk.

If a Calcium Score might be right for you, talk to your doctor. Canada Diagnostic has been providing Calcium Scores since 2002, and since 2007 we’ve been providing ultrasound scans of the carotid arteries which is another excellent screening exam for early signs of plaque build-up. You can learn more about our atherosclerosis screening exams on our website. Call us to find out more about both exams at 604-709-8522 or email us at info@canadadiagnostic.com.

  Filed under: Categories: Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular, CT Scans, Early Detection, Heart Disease, Heart Scans, Screening Exams, and Ultrasound Scans. Tags: atherosclerosis, Calcium Score, heart attack risk, heart disease, heart scan, Private CT Scan Vancouver, Private MRI Vancouver, and Screening Exams.
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Cut the risk of heart attack in half by controlling blood pressure & cholesterol

A new research article in the medical journal Circulation shows that patients may reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by at least half by getting their blood pressure and cholesterol under control.

A healthy lifestyle is important for minimizing cardiovascular disease but so is taking medications if they are needed to get control over blood pressure and cholesterol.  While preventing heart disease is important, maintaining healthy blood vessels is too!

If you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history, overweight or sedentary lifestyle, you might benefit from having a Coronary Artery Calcium Score (CACS).  A CACS takes a look at your coronary arteries and can spot small amounts hard plaque in your vessel walls – an early indicator of cardiovascular disease.

For more information about CACS, see our other blog articles:  Patients Who “See” Their Heart Disease are Much More Motivated to Follow Doctor’s Orders (July 31, 2012) and #1 Heart Disease Predictor (September 13, 2012).

Call us today to find out more about CACS at 1-877-709-8522 or send us an email at info@canadadiagnostic.com.  You can read more about our CACS scan and other screening exams offered at Canada Diagnostic here.

  Filed under: Categories: Cardiovascular, Early Detection, Heart Scans, and Screening Exams. Tags: Calcium Score, Canada Diagnostic Vancouver, coronary calcium, CT scan, CT Screening, early detection, heart disease, heart scan, Lung Cancer Screening, MRI Vancouver, Private CT, Private MRI Vancouver, and Screening Exams.
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Heading Soccer ball leads to brain injury

According to a study published June 11 in the journal Radiology, soccer players who frequently use their heads to field the ball have brain abnormalities that show up on MRI and that are similar to those found in people with traumatic brain injury.

Soccer balls can travel as fast as 50 miles per hour, and a player may head the ball up to a dozen times during a game.  During practices, it might be common to perform heading drills – where the ball might be bounced off of a player’s head several dozen times.  During the repeated impacts, the brain is accelerating/decerlating inside the skull.

We already know the effects of multiple concussions and how sports like north-american football are starting to grapple with those effects.  But what about impacts that don’t cause concussion like repetitive heading of a soccer ball?

Testing has shown that cognitive (memory) performance decreased in soccer players after a threshold of 1800 headings per year.  However, the changes seen in the brain on MRI show tissue changes that preceed cognitive decline at thresholds of 900 – 1500 headings per year.  The cumulative effects of repetitive minor injury might not be apparent for many years.

How can this type of cumulative brain injury be avoided?  One of the studies authors suggested that players heading counts be monitored and the players be given a recovery period once a certain number of headings has been reached.  Baseball does something similar with pitchers to save their arms/shoulders from permanent damage.

for more information about MRI, CT and Ultrasound services at Canada Diagnostic, please call us at 1-877-709-8522 or send us an email at info@canadadiagnostic.com.  You can also visit our website at www.canadadiagnostic.com.

  Filed under: Categories: Brain Scans, Brain Scans, CT Scans, Knee, MRI Scans, MSK, Orthopedic, Sport Medicine, and Sports Injuries. Tags: brain mri, head injury, MRI Vancouver, Private MRI Vancouver, and soccer injury.
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CT sees Twice the lung cancers of Xray

A new analysis of data from the landmark 2011 National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) found that low-does CT detected twice as many early-stage lung cancers as x-ray on initial screening.

The NLST found that participants who received low-dose helical CT scans had a 20.0 percent lower risk of dying from lung cancer than participants who received standard chest X-rays.

You can read more here.

At Canada Diagnostic, we have been providing Screening Lung CT scans since 2002.  This exam may be right for you if you have a history of smoking or exposure to environmental risk factors (asbestos, desert living, second-hand smoke).  Please call us at 604-709-8522 to learn more, or visit our website.

  Filed under: Categories: CT Scans, Early Detection, Lung Cancer, and Screening Exams. Tags: lung cancer, Lung Cancer Screening, Private CT, Private MRI, and Private MRI Vancouver.
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CT scans in children – is there an alternate test that can be ordered instead? What do you need to know?

A new study about childhood radiation exposure was presented this week in the British Journal of Medicine.

This excellent study reminds us that CT scans are still exceptional diagnostic tools, but that they are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. The increase I childhood cancers from exposure to CT scans is 25%.  That does not mean that one in four children who had had a CT scan will get cancer.  Here is an explanation from the study:But because the incidence of cancer in early life is very low this increased risk translated into only an extra six cancers over 10 years for every 10 000 young people who underwent computed tomography. Had they not had any scans, 39 cases of cancer would have been expected in this group
  2. Technology and reasons for using CT scans have evolved considerably since the study’s data cutoff of 2005.  Today’s scanners all have radiation dose reduction software and scan a very precise area of the body, both of which result in less radiation than previous types of CT scans
  3. The decision to give a CT scan to a child is one doctors make after very careful consideration.  A North American-wide campaign to “Image Gently” has resulted in a big shift in how and when CT scans are performed.  Here is one of the conclusions of the study:

Future CT scans should be limited to situations where there is a definite clinical indication, with every scan optimised to provide a diagnostic CT image at the lowest possible radiation dose.

It is important to note that the effects of radiation exposure in adults is less than that in children. An adult’s overall risk of getting cancer is affected by many things including age, lifestyle habits such as smoking and diet, and genetics. Based on current incidence rates, approximately 4 out of 10 Canadians will develop some type of cancer during their lifetime, regardless of exposure to medical radiation.  Read more here.

CT scans still remain an invaluable diagnostic tool.  For example, in trauma cases, these scans can be performed quickly and can establish what the injuries are – these can be life-and-death cases where time and information is of the essence.

Early detection of lung cancer is another area where CT shines.  See our next blog article where research has shown that CT scans detect twice as many lung cancers as chest xrays.

If you would like more information about CT, MRI or Ultrasound scans, or would like to know which type of scan might be best for you, please call us at 604-709-8522, email us at info@canadadiagnostic.com or visit our website.

  Filed under: Categories: CT Scans and MRI Scans. Tags: CT Scans, MRI Scans Vancouver, and Radiation Exposure.
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Proud to Support Rowing Canada!

Canada Diagnostic Centres is very proud to support Rowing Canada as their Official Supplier of Diagnostic Imaging.  As a leader in sports medicine imaging, our clinic is chosen by professional athletes, elite amateurs and weekend warriors alike!

The rower’s did Canada proud by bringing home the Silver Medal in Men’s and Women’s 8’s at the London2012 Summer Olympics.

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For more information about Rowing Canada, visit:  http://www.rowingcanada.org/home

To find out how Canada Diagnostic can help you with your sport-related injury, call us at 1-877-709-8522, or visit our website at http://www.canadadiagnostic.com/

  Filed under: Categories: CDC News, MRI Scans, MSK, Orthopedic, Sport Medicine, and Sports Injuries. Tags: knee injury, rib strain, Rowing Canada, shoulder injury, sport medicine, and Sports Injuries.
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10 Greatest Medical Inventions of the last 50 years – guess what tied for #1? CT & MRI!

According to healthexecnews.com, CT and MRI tie for the greatest medical inventions of the last 50 years.

The choice of MRI and CT as #1 reflects what an incredible impact these two technologies have made on the medical industry since their inception in the late 1970’s.  MRI and CT seem like standard procedures today, hinting at their significant impact on healthcare.

From screening for early disease detection, to detailed diagnostic scans, to monitoring treatment progress, MRI and CT have a role to play in just about every type of injury and illness.

At Canada Diagnostic in Vancouver, we’ve been offering MRI and CT scans since 2000.

The radiologists who interpret MRI & CT scans at Canada Diagnostic Centres all work, teach and do research at two of BC’s best-known teaching hospitals:  Vancouver General Hospital and UBC Hospital.  What does this mean for our patients and their physicians?  Our radiologists are  at the forefront of the latest developments in advanced diagnostic imaging and read a high volume of specialized cases each year.

Our radiologists also bring a variety of sub-specialty skills to Canada Diagnostic relating to musculoskeletal, neurologic, breast and abdominal diagnostic imaging.  They use a team approach and are able to consult freely with each other in the event of challenging cases.  This depth and breadth of knowledge greatly benefits our patients and their doctors.

To learn more about the types of scans we offer at Canada Diagnostic, click here, or call us at 604-709-8522.

 

 

 

 

 

  Filed under: Categories: Colon Cancer, CT Scans, Lung Cancer, MRI Scans, MSK, Multiple Sclerosis, Orthopedic, and Screening Exams. Tags: CT, diagnostic MRI, early detection, MRI, Private CT Vancouver, Private MRI Vancouver, and screening CT.
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