MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. David Bluemke MD, PhD, MsB
Director of Radiology and Imaging Sciences
NIH Clinical Center
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Bluemke: Heart disease is the most common reason for death and disability of adults in the United States and worldwide. This study evaluated 1,840 adults in six communities throughout the United States, ages 45-84. In normal adults, the heart is a muscle, but various injuries to the heart (the most severe being a myocardial infarction/ heart attack) occur over an individual’s lifetime. These injuries result in heart muscle being replaced by a scar composed of fibrous tissue. The main finding is that even in healthy, middle and older adults, about 1 in 12 adults in the U.S. have developed scars in the heart. Most of these (80%) are not detected by their doctor, or by other tests such as ECG.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Bluemke: Men have almost a six times greater risk of scar in their heart than women. Individuals who have hypertension, who smoke and who are obese are also more likely to have a scar in their heart. The underlying etiology for many of these scars appears to be related to atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Individuals with increased risk factors and abnormal calcium scores are more likely to have myocardial scar.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Bluemke: Most of these scars do not cause direct symptoms, but the presence of a scar may be implicated in decreased function of the heart. In the future, we will seek to determine how these scars affect overall heart health as individuals’ age.
Evrim B. Turkbey, Marcelo S. Nacif, Mengye Guo, Robyn L. McClelland, Patricia B. R. P. Teixeira, Diane E. Bild, R. Graham Barr, Steven Shea, Wendy Post, Gregory Burke, Matthew J. Budoff, Aaron R. Folsom, Chia-Ying Liu, João A. Lima, David A. Bluemke. Prevalence and Correlates of Myocardial Scar in a US Cohort. JAMA, 2015; 314 (18): 1945 DOI:10.1001/jama.2015.14849
Dr. David Bluemke MD, PhD, MsB (2015). Men Develop Six Times As Many Scars on Their Heart As Women MedicalResearch.com