MESA Researcher..


MESA Researcher’s Formula Better Predicts Risk of Heart Problems

Dr. Elizabeth BrownIn 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.

CT ScanDr. 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 Heartwire.