News ID: 198253
Published: 0427 GMT August 09, 2017

Calcium in arteries influences heart attack risk

Calcium in arteries influences heart attack risk

A recent study by the University of Texas Southwestern suggested that calcium buildup in the coronary arteries increases the risk of heart attack.

The study, published in the August edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found patients without calcium buildup in their coronary arteries had significantly lower risk of heart attack or stroke regardless of also having diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, UPI reported.

Dr. Parag Joshi, preventive cardiologist and assistant professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern, said, "The event rates when coronary calcium is absent are low.

"Our findings suggest that individuals with no calcium buildup in their blood vessels may not have to take statins despite the presence of other risk factors that cause coronary disease."

Researchers analyzed the CT scans of the heart and chest of 6,184 people between the age of 45 and 84 who had never had a heart attack or stroke from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, or MESA.

Half of the participants had no calcium deposits in their arteries or a zero coronary artery calcium, or CAC, score, and had less than a three percent chance of a cardiovascular event over a 10-year period despite having other risk factors for heart disease and stroke such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high bad cholesterol levels.

However, a zero CAC score does not mean there is no plaque built up inside the arteries or no risk of a heart attack, but rather that the risk of heart attack is lower than the threshold when statins are typically recommended.

Joshi said, "A CAC score can really add to the clinician-patient discussion over whether or not to start a statin for primary prevention of heart attacks and strokes.”


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