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CT scan predicts risk of death for heart patients

Posted Dec 06 2008 4:50am

Cardiac computed tomography (CTA) may be able to help doctors estimate suspected coronary artery disease patients’ chances of dying within the next 15 years, say researchers.

Dr Matthew Budoff and colleagues at UCLA Medical Center studied 2,538 adults (average age of 59) with suspected coronary artery disease to determine whether CTA was an accurate predictor of all-cause mortality.

During the 15-year study period 86 participants died. Study results showed that death was most common in participants with severe coronary artery disease, as revealed by the CTA scan. This finding held true even after participants’ age, gender, and conventional risk factors for coronary heart disease were taken into account.

However, in an accompanying editorial, Stephen Achenbach, MD, writes that "the results do not justify" the use of CTA scans for people without symptoms of heart disease.

Ostrom MP, Gopal A, Ahmadi N, Nasir K, Yang E, Kakadiaris I, Flores F, Mao SS, Budoff MJ. Mortality incidence and the severity of coronary atherosclerosis assessed by Computed Tomography Angiography. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008;52:1335-1343.

Achenbach S. Assessing the prognostic value of coronary Computed Tomography Angiography. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008;52:1344-1346.
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