Breast Screening May Also Predict Heart Risk

Continue reading for more news on predicting and screening for cardiovascular disease and risk.

Breast Calcification Correlated to Coronary Calcification

A new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) last week suggested that the breast screening mammogram could be an aid for heart risk assessment.

Digital mammograms use x-ray images to detect tiny deposits of calcium that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer. Researchers determined that the number of blood vessels affected and extent of calcification directly correlated to number and extent of coronary artery calcification.

Researchers studied 371 women who had a digital mammogram and chest CT scan performed within 1 year of each other. They derived a breast arterial calcification (BAC) score from the mammograms and a coronary artery calcification (CAC) score from CT scans. In 76 percent of women studied, as the BAC score rose, there was a corresponding rise in CAC score.


"The age range of women who are screened for breast cancer is the same as those who would most benefit from assessment of heart risk."

"Providing this knowledge... increases the opportunity for patients to take advantage of cardiovascular risk-reduction strategies."

"It would also mean no additional cost, time and radiation exposure."


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