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Heart Disease Revealed in Many Adults Without Symptoms

Computed tomography coronary angiography finds plaques in seemingly healthy subjects

TUESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- A considerable proportion of a group of apparently healthy individuals showed signs of coronary artery disease on coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA), according to research published in the July 29 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Eue-Keun Choi, M.D., of Seoul National University Bundang Hospital in Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,000 individuals (mean age 50) who had undergone CTA for routine evaluation. The researchers assessed the subjects' Framingham risk scores and assigned them to high-, moderate- or low-risk groups according to revised National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines.

The investigators found atherosclerotic plaques in 215 individuals (22 percent), including 52 with significant stenosis and 21 with severe stenosis. They note that 25 percent of those with significant stenosis were classified as low-risk. Over 17 months of follow-up, 15 cardiac events occurred only in those with coronary artery disease on CTA, the study authors report.

Given issues related to radiation exposure and likelihood of false positives, among other concerns, the authors of an accompanying editorial write, "We agree with Choi et al. that we are far away from recommending CT screening in asymptomatic individuals and abide by the recommendation statement of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force against routine screening with resting electrocardiography, exercise treadmill test, and electron beam CT in adults at low risk, which should also apply to multislice computed tomography coronary imaging screening."

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