July 31, 2015 – Statins and Coronary Calcium


Anchor lead:  How can you decide if a statin is for you? Elizabeth Tracey reports

If you’ve been told that you should take a statin medication simply because you’ve aged into a higher risk group but are otherwise in good health, what should you do? Roger Blumenthal, a preventive cardiology expert at Johns Hopkins, says the imaging technique known as coronary calcium scanning can help.

Blumenthal: A coronary calcium scan at this time is the best way to refine a person’s risk and that’s the go to test we often use.  The price has come down quite a bit, the radiation about the same as two mammograms, and women tend to get mammograms every year or two.  The drawback of a coronary calcium scan is about 5% of the time the radiologist may see a lung nodule and say probably good to repeat a CT scan in six to twelve months just to make sure that the nodule hasn’t gotten bigger.  :28

New data on the cost-effectiveness of people taking a generic statin medication supports the newest set of guidelines of who should be taking the drugs, Blumenthal says, but people can further assess their own risk with a coronary calcium scan.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.