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NIH News: Improve Risk Assessment for Heart Disease

Adding Coronary Calcium Score to Traditional Risk Factors Improves Risk Assessment for Heart Disease

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health issued a press release which states that including a coronary artery calcium score in a risk assessment for future heart disease events, such as heart attacks, provides a better estimate in some populations than a standard coronary risk factors assessment, according to research supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

A coronary artery calcium score was most helpful for people considered to be at intermediate risk of a heart disease - defined as those with a 3 to 10 percent chance of developing heart disease over the next five years - according to the report in the April 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Click here to read more details. 

Calcium scoring does more than identify the likelihood of a heart attack, it can help prevent one. Richard Birkhead, MD, chief of cardiology at Lowell General Hospital explains, "Your physician will consider the score along with the risk factors such as age, family history, cholesterol level, diabetes, high blood pressure, weight and tobacco use. The score then provides valuable guidance about how aggressive you should be about prevention, which we call primary risk reduction."

Cardiac calcium scoring is one of the simplest, yet most advanced methods to detect heart disease at its earliest stages. It's a painless test and it's available at the Imaging Center at Lowell General Chelmsford.  

Click here to read more about LGH's Heart CT Calcium Scoring Program

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