CT Can Predict Future Cardiovascular Disease, Study.

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Chest_CTAccording to a new study, Computed Tomography (CT) scans can be used for predicting cardiovascular diseases in individuals with high risk. The findings of the study are highlighted online and will be published in the November issue of Radiology. Martijn J. A. Gondrie, M.D., from the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and the lead author of the study, said "The results of this study show that radiologists can predict cardiovascular disease fairly well using incidental findings of calcifications of the aortic wall on CT, along with minimal patient information, such as age, gender and the reason for the CT. Ultimately, this easily executed extra risk stratification has the potential to reduce future heart attacks or other cardiovascular events."

There has been significant increase in the use of chest CT scans though the last ten years. The details of CT images also improved thanks to the use of modern image-processing technologies. As a result to such improvements, a lot of incidental findings are appearing during CT scans, which include unexpectedly imaging characteristics that are not related to original clinical purpose of the CT.  The study conducted by Dr. Gondrie represented a part of the Prognostic Value of Ancillary Information in Diagnostic Imaging (PROVIDI) project, which is aiming to study the significance of the unexpectedly detected imaging findings on CT scans of the chest. Dr. Gondrie explained "This is the first study to investigate whether incidental findings can predict future disease in a routine care setting. Incidental findings are obtained without additional radiation exposure or cost to the patient and may hold valuable clues as to the patient's overall health and their risk for future disease. It generates the much-needed insights that allow more effective utilization of the increasing amount of diagnostic information, and it could potentially change the way radiologists contribute to the efficiency of daily patient care."

Chest CT and Cardiovascular disease prediction.

During his study, Dr. Gondrie and his team designed cardiovascular disease prediction models using incidental aortic findings detected on chest CT scans. The study involved 6,975 patients who had chest CT scan for non-cardiovascular purposes. A sample of 817 patients, in addition to 347 patients who had a cardiovascular event throughout a follow-up period of 17 months in average, were included in the study. Research team made scores for incidental aortic abnormalities detected on the CT scans, such abnormalities included plaques, calcifications and other defects. Other factors were put in consideration such as the age of patients, their gender and CT scans indications. The prediction model was used to determine the finding that is highly indicating future cardiovascular diseases, which was found to be aortic calcifications.

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