MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Nakanishi: With growing evidence that a measurement of the buildup of calcium in
coronary arteries can predict heart disease risk, Los Angeles Biomedical
Research Institute (LA BioMed) researchers found that the process of
“calcium scoring” was also accurate in predicting the chances of dying among
adults with little or no traditional risk factor of heart disease.
The study conducted by LA BioMed researchers examined 5,593 adults with no
known heart disease and zero or minimal risk factor of heart disease —
including hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, current smoking and family
history of heart disease — who had undergone coronary artery calcium
screening by non-contrast cardiac computed tomography from 1991-2011.
Among the adults in the study, even those with low coronary artery calcium
scores of 1-99 were 50% more likely to die of heart disease than adults with
a calcium score of zero. Adults with moderate scores of 100-399 were 80%
more likely to die from heart disease than those with a score of zero, and
those with scores of 400 or more were three times more likely to die from
heart disease, when compared to adults with no calcified plaque buildup, or
a score of zero.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Nakanishi: Previous studies had found that calcium scores were effective in predicting future cardiovascular risks among adults with low-intermediate or
intermediate risk of coronary artery disease. These finding, along with
other research presented at ACC.14, the annual scientific session of the
American College of Cardiology in March, found coronary artery calcium
screening accurately predicted the future mortality risk among subjects at
low risk of coronary artery disease.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Nakanishi: Normally, calcium scoring is only recommended for patients with
low-intermediate or intermediate risk of coronary artery disease. These
findings suggest that calcium scoring can be an effective tool for assessing
heart disease risks in adults with no or minimal risk factors so that they
can make the lifestyle and other changes that can help them avoid heart
disease in the future.”
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Nakanishi: We continue to evaluate calcium scoring as a tool for assessing heart
disease risks and for helping provide the needed incentive for patients to
make the lifestyle choices – such as an improved diet, smoking cessation and
increased exercise – that will increase their chances of avoiding heart