Jul 04, 2008
I must admit that I believe the jury is still out with regards to heart scan, CT angiography and calcium scoring.
After Tim Russerts death, I must have received 5-10 question a day feom concerned patients and friends. They all wanted to know if they needed a scan. People who were relatively healthy wanted to know if they were going to die suddenly.
The following NY times article does a good job of painting different sides of the story. In my mind, I think that calcium scoring is a very important motivational tool for someone who would change their life style of diet, exercise and nutrition if they had a compelling reason. Some people genuinely need that kick in the butt. But for the person who is doing exactly what they should be in terms of lifestyle and medical risk reduction for cholesterol or hypertension, there is little to be gained.
Now lets look at a particular exception. You are a 45 year old male. Healty 5'10'' 160 lbs. You eat well. Vegetarian who hates sweets. You exercise 5 times per week. However, your father died at age 55 and lived just as healthy.
This might be a case where someone recommends the scan with calcium scoring to see if there is any apparent reason to begin early statin therapy.
The problem with imaging modalities is that even if they are noninvasive without the risks of cardiac catheterization, there are still risks associated with radiation exposure. A scan is roughly equal to 1,050 chest x ray doses. Not a small amount
I would like to know how many people would get a heart scan if there were no considerations of cost or convenience.
Read the link and provide some feedback