MESA Researcher’s Formula Better Predicts Risk of Heart Problems
an article published in the June issue of Radiology, MESA Researcher
Dr. Elizabeth Brown of the University of Washington introduced a score that can
better predict cardiac events, such as a heart attack.
Brown looked at the CT scans of MESA participants to describe calcium build-up
in their coronary arteries, which are the arteries that supply blood to the
heart. Many researchers now believe that calcium in these arteries can lead to
heart disease (you can see other findings from MESA related to coronary artery
calcium on the
Findings from MESA page).
Previous researchers have developed scores that indicate the amount of calcium
in this area. Dr. Brown has improved upon these methods by developing the
calcium coverage score (CCS), which estimates what percentage of the arteries
currently have calcium buildup. She found that those who had high percentages
were more likely to have cardiac events, such as heart attacks or angina.
Dr. Brown thinks that this score will give patients a concrete understanding of
the health of their hearts. "With the calcium coverage score, the
physician can say to his or her patient, 10% of your arteries have calcified
plaque. Patients, I think, can understand what this means. The calcium coverage
score is a summary measure that can help communication between physicians and
patients," she stated. These results have recently been featured in
The Washington Post and