I am returning from a conference on heart attack and stroke prevention and was reviewing some of my notes on the goal of earlier diagnosis and treatment of arterial disease, also known as atherosclerosis. One feature of atherosclerosis is that the vast majority of plaques become calcified. Calcified arteries can be identified on most X-ray studies, even routine chest X-rays. CT imaging is particularly good at showing this pathology. Calcified arteries as a sign of atherosclerosis caught the public attention a few years back when whole body CT scans on 4,000 year old mummies demonstrated abnormalities in almost half. So much for atherosclerosis being a disease of modern society.
Earlier detection of atherosclerosis, even if serendipitous on a chest CT or mammogram, can lead to a more thorough evaluation and treatment plan as was taught at my weekend course and my preventive cardiology clinic.
Are radiologists looking for incidental arterial calcium?
To find out, head over to: HuffingtonPost.com