Heart & Cardiology/Plaque

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Question
Hello Dr. Richardson and happy new year to you!

I saw a piece on CNN about perfectly healthy people dying of heart attacks due to plaque in arteries.  Even people that passed stress tests with flying colors.  

How can one test of plaque?  Would an echocardiogram pick it up?  I had one done a couple years ago and my results were normal.  Does this mean I probably don't have plaque build up?  

Sincerely,
Heather

Answer
Hello Heather,

Yes, plaques not narrow enough to restrict blood flow can rupture, attract a clot, and cause a heart attack.  CT coronary arteriography or MRI can often detect plaques.

Please write back if this note doesn’t answer all your questions.

David Richardson

Heart & Cardiology

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David Richardson

Expertise

Adult heart function and disease. Not very good about children lesss than 12. Hypertension is o.k. Heart rhythm a special interest.

Experience

Certified in cardiology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Was chairman of division of cardiology at the Medical College of Virginia. Am now mostly retired.

Organizations
Fellow of American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and member of American Physiological Society..

Publications
Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

Education/Credentials
M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Residency training at Yale Uhniversity School of Medicine and Medical College of Virginia.

Awards and Honors
Gold Heartt Award from American Heart Association in 1995.

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