Sun 16 July 2017
A research team from Oxford published an interesting article in Science Translational Medicine last week describing a new non invasive CT Scan which detects arterial disease before heart attack or stroke can occur and may allow risk modification in patients tested.
The CT scan detects the infammatory process which occurs as part of the development of furring up of arterial blood vessels in the body. In the heart, the coronary arteries become narrowed by this process (called atherosclerosis) leading to heart attacks. Similar narrowing in the blood vessels supplying the brain can lead to stroke. Further work is still required to develop the technique and simplify the software used to analyse the CT scan, but this non-invasive test may have benefits over and above current tests for detecting atherosclerotic disease.
Current CT scans can detect calcium deposition in the arteries of the body to create a score of atherosclerosic burden (CT Calcium Score). This test does not detect the soft fatty deposits which can occur in severely narrowed vessels even in the absence of calcium deposition.
Another test called CT Coronary Angiography is currently the only noninvasive modality for detecting both calcific and fatty coronary artery narrowing. This test is increasing in accuracy and is being used in some centres to diagnose heart disease, and even screen patients for its development. The test requires the injection of a small dose of radioactive contrast dye into a vein, however.
Our view at The Keyhole Heart Clinic: Screening for coronary artery disease risk can make a real impact in allowing you to help to prevent a heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, a simple set of clinical checks and a blood test can help you to understand your risk immediately. To find out more click here: Coronary Disease Prevention