Heart Scan: CAC Scan May Identify Early Mortality Risk

First Posted: Jul 06, 2015 09:22 PM EDT

New findings published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine reveal that a simple heart scan can detect an individuals risk of early death, with coronary artery calcification (CAC) scans identifying patients at risk.

For the study, researchers at Emory University discovered that coronary artery calcification (CAC) collected CAC scores and risk factor data from over 9,700 volunteers between 1996 and 1999. All participants were scanned as part of a community-outreach screening program at an outpatient clinic in Nashville. None of them showed symptoms of coronary artery disease at the time of scans.

Findings revealed that CAC scores accurately predicted all-cause premature deaths up to 15 years in asymptomatic patients.

"These findings give us a better understanding of the importance of coronary calcium scans to predict mortality," lead study author Leslee Shaw, PhD, professor of cardiology, said in a news release. "Patients with high calcium scores might be advised by their physicians to adopt healthier lifestyles, which could lead to better outcomes and potentially help lengthen their lives."

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