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Coronary Calcium Riskier for Blacks Than Other Groups

High readings predict earlier mortality for many ethnicities

MONDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of coronary artery calcium are significant predictors of early mortality across a broad range of ethnic groups, but some ethnicities are more profoundly affected than others, according to a population study published in the Sept. 4 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Khurram Nasir, M.D., of the Harvard School of Medicine in Boston, and colleagues followed 14,812 asymptomatic individuals who were referred by their primary care physicians for coronary artery calcium screening between 1991 and 2004 because of risk factors. The study sample included 637 blacks, 1,065 Asians, 1,334 Hispanics and 11,776 non-Hispanic whites. The study's primary end point was death from all causes (505 individuals) after a follow-up period of 10 years.

Coronary artery calcium was found to be the single greatest predictor of time to mortality for all the ethnicities. Death rates were low or very low across all ethnic groups for individuals with coronary artery calcium scores in the low range (up to 10). When coronary artery calcium scores were in the very high range (1,000 or higher) survival rates were 80 percent for Asians, 60 percent for Hispanics, 57 percent for non-Hispanic whites and 30 percent in blacks.

"As with all translational research, the current study is but one more step in understanding the nature of coronary atherosclerosis and its individual consequences," states the author of an accompanying editorial.

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