"Coronary artery calcification on CT"
Cardiac checkup at CVIC includes an examination called "coronary artery calcification scan". This test detects calcium (calcium) deposited in the coronary arteries and scores it using a world-standard calculation formula.
The cause of coronary artery calcification is arteriosclerosis, and lipids deposited on the walls of blood vessels change to calcium over time and become calcified. However, the presence of calcification does not mean that there is a vascular stenotic lesion that requires treatment.
On the other hand, the presence of calcification in the coronary arteries indicates the presence of arteriosclerosis. In that respect, a great deal of research has been done, especially in Europe and the United States.
There are many data indicating that if the coronary artery calcification score (Agatson score) calculated by the standard method is elevated to some extent (>100), the probability of coronary artery stenosis is high and the future mortality rate is high. In addition, when MRI examinations are frequently used in CVIC to diagnose coronary artery MRA, referring to information on coronary artery calcification in that area may help the diagnosis.
At CVIC, a large number of patients with high calcification scores (CAC>400) come to our clinic. However, as I mentioned earlier, this does not necessarily mean that there is a stenotic lesion that requires treatment, and I think there is also an aspect that is not given much importance in Japan.
However, since the examination image clearly depicts white changes attached to the coronary arteries, the surprise of patients who see coronary artery calcification is more than we can imagine. Certainly, it would be disgusting to have white, bright, shining things scattered about your own coronary arteries. The following phrases are often used by patients.
"Can you remove this calcification?"
Unfortunately, it must be removed with a diamond-head drill called a rotor blade. In addition, current medicine cannot remove coronary artery calcification with drugs.
However, I think that it is possible to delay the progression of coronary artery calcification by paying close attention to coronary artery risk factors and properly controlling them.
If explained in this way, even if the patient is asymptomatic, he/she will be able to properly take the medicines for hypertension and hypercholesterolemia that he or she is currently taking, and drug compliance will improve. There is also data that it can reduce future coronary artery disease events. There is also data showing that the addition of coronary artery calcification score measurement is more accurate than the conventional combination of risk factors for coronary artery disease in predicting future coronary artery disease.
"From a heart checkup to detect heart disease to a heart checkup to prevent heart disease"
In the future, I would like to devise ways to proactively address preventive measures such as this for cardiac checkups at CVIC.