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Heart & Cardiology/Benefits of Calcium Score Test?

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Question
Hi Dr. Ahmed,

I had father who died of heart attack at 48...I'm 45 now..My lipids are good, HDL usually little low 32-38 range, LDL is < 100, and trigelcerides are always < 100...I've had 3 echos done over last 6 yrs, and even a cardiac MRI..Everything came back normal...

1. Would there be any benefit of a calcium score test?..

2. Does the cardio CRP test something that needs repeated?....I last had one 6 yrs ago, it was 0.4 (less than 1 is preferred level)...

Thanks

Answer
Hi, http://myheart.net/articles/

The coronary artery calcium score uses CT scanning to indicate the presence or absence, and the extent of calcium in the coronary artery. Low scores are associated with a low risk of future events and high scores are associated with an increased risk. The aim of CT calcium scoring in asymptomatic patients is to improve risk assessment and allow identification of patients who require intensification of preventive strategies such as lifestyle, blood pressure, cholesterol etc... Its important to note that the calcium score should not be used to identify coronary stenoses (blockages). In those patients that are high risk, there should already be maximum attention paid to those risk factors and therefore the a high risk calcium score would not be of use and a low risk calcium score would not negate the presence of factors that made the person high risk and who will require intensive risk factor modification anyways. Bottom line being, if you wanted to obtain one for risk stratification purposes then it may be reasonable, however if you are asymptomatic then it can sometimes cloud the picture and not be used for management decisions. ultimately risk factor modification is recommended regardless. With your family history you should be paying attention to the risk factors regardless.

The crp test is not done commonly and not widely recommended in this setting, particularly if you are already on a risk modification regimen,

Hope that was helpful,  

Heart & Cardiology

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Mustafa Ahmed MD

Expertise

Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Hypertension, Pulmonary Embolism, Structural and Valve Disease

Experience

Board Certification Internal Medicine and Cardiology Interventional and Structural Cardiology

Organizations
http://blog.myheart.net

Publications
Multiple Publications In High Quality Peer Reviewed Journals. Internationally Recognized.

Education/Credentials
MD from The Royal Victoria University of Manchester, England Medicine, Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, Research Training - University of Alabama

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