Is Coronary Artery Calcium A Good Indicator For Future Heart Disease?

A new study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that coronary artery calcium was approximately six times better at predicting the risk of coronary heart disease than a family history of coronary heart disease. The study involved 6,814 participants, of which 1,330 had an intermediate risk of coronary heart disease and did not have diabetes mellitus. The study looked at six different risk markers and found that coronary artery calcium was a better marker than the rest for estimating the risk of coronary heart disease.

The six risk markers were: coronary artery calcium, carotid intima-media thickness, ankle-brachial index, brachial flow-mediated dilation, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and family history of coronary heart disease, which have been reported to improve on the Framingham Risk Score that is used to predict the risk of coronary heart disease over a ten-year period.

The study concluded that coronary artery calcium, ankle-brachial index, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and family history were independent predictors of incident of coronary heart disease/cardiovascular disease in intermediate-risk individuals and that “[C]oronary artery calcium provided superior discrimination and risk reclassification compared with other risk markers.”


The Framingham Risk Score

The Framingham Risk Score (there is one score for women and one for men) measures the ten-year cardiovascular risk of people developing coronary heart disease, based on data from the Framingham Heart Study. Individuals with a Framingham Risk Score of 10% or less are considered to be low risk; those with a score of 10% to 20% are considered to be an intermediate risk; and, those with a score over 20% are considered to be high risk of developing coronary heart disease over a ten-year period. The Framingham Risk Score is useful in determining those who would benefit most from preventive medications such as those that lower blood pressure and those that lower cholesterol levels. Your Framingham Risk Score can be determined by going to this website.

Coronary calcium can be measured and scored by performing a coronary CT scan. The cost of the scan varies but averages about $200 and is usually not covered by a patient’s health insurance.

Heart Disease Statistics For The United States

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and can affect people of all ages and all backgrounds. It was the leading cause of death in 2008 for whites (25.1%), African Americans (24.4%), and Hispanics (20.7%), and the death rates due to heart disease were highest in Mississippi and were the lowest in Minnesota. Heart disease as the cause of death in American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, and Pacific Islanders is second only to cancer.

In 2008, over 616,000 people died of heart disease in the United States, which was the cause of death for almost 25% of the deaths in the United States that year. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2008 were in men. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease. In 2008, 405,309 people died from coronary heart disease.

Every year, about 785,000 Americans have a first coronary attack and another 470,000 who have already had one or more coronary attacks have another attack.

In 2010, coronary heart disease alone was projected to cost the United States $108.9 billion, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.


If you or a loved one were injured as a result of cardiovascular disease that was improperly or untimely diagnosed or treated in the United States, there may be a claim for medical negligence. A local medical malpractice attorney may be willing to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim and file a medical malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website or telephone us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you with your medical malpractice claim.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, August 25th, 2012 at 11:35 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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