A simple test for heart disease predicts long-term mortality

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Canadians–but the good news is that a simple test that can accurately predict long term mortality (chance of death in next 15 years) is available and it can help guide preventive management.

Coronary Artery Calcification (CAC) is a reflection of disease in the arteries that supply the heart. We’ve known for a few years now, that the amount of CAC can predict whether a patient is at risk for a serious cardiac “event” in the next five years. A recent large-scale study has shown that CAC results are even more valuable: they found that CAC was highly predictive for up to 15 years.

When a patient is shown to have calcium in their coronary arteries, they have coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD may be mild or advanced, but this important information helps you and your doctor come up with a game plan that might include some lifestyle changes or medication.

A test for CAC is a simple scan done by CT – it’s completely non-invasive, takes only minutes and doesn’t require any preparation by the patient. The test measures the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries and then provides a score of your relative risks of having a serious cardiac event in the next several years.

Canada Diagnostic Centres has been providing CAC exams since 2000 and is one of the most experienced facilities in Canada in providing this test. For more information about this useful exam, click here or give us a call at 604-709-8522.

  Filed under: Categories: Cardiovascular, CT Scans, Early Detection, News, and Screening Exams. Tags: Calcium Score, coronary, coronary calcium, heart attack risk, heart disease, Private CT, and Private MRI.
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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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