Anchor lead: Can a coronary calcium scan help decide if you need blood pressure medicine? Elizabeth Tracey reports
Coronary calcium scans are looking for deposits on the inside of the heart’s arteries, and they can be helpful in determining someone’s risk for a cardiovascular problem. Now researchers at Johns Hopkins have shown the scans can also help in deciding whether someone needs to take blood pressure lowering medicine. Seth Martin, a cardiologist at Hopkins who participated in the study, describes the findings.
Martin: What we find is that coronary calcium is a really powerful integrator of risk. The way I like to put it is it helps to put that blood pressure into context. We know that heart disease is caused not by one single factor in most cases but by a combination of risk factors. So it’s also the cholesterol level and in addition to that it’s blood pressure, whether they have diabetes or are smoking. These other factors really matter and so we want to put the single risk factor in the context of the overall risk. :30
Martin says the scan is most helpful in helping those at intermediate risk for a cardiovascular event. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.