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According to the findings of a Danish study, almost half of adults show signs of coronary heart disease without showing any symptoms. However, this leads to an eight times higher risk of triggering a myocardial infarction. Is widespread screening possible?
A study by Danish scientists shows that almost half of adults over the age of forty may have early signs of heart disease, even when there are no symptoms.
CT angiography screening in people without symptoms
As part of this study, the scientists gathered 9,533 asymptomatic people aged 40 or older, who had no known cardiovascular disease.
Participants were assessed by a test called coronary CT angiography, or CT scan, to detect their obstructive coronary atherosclerosis, which are plaques of atherosclerosis that gradually reduce the caliber of their coronary arteries.
46% diagnosed with cardiovascular disease
Results: the authors found that 54% of the participants had no subclinical coronary atherosclerosis while 46% were diagnosed with subclinical coronary atherosclerosis, ie atherosclerosis without associated symptoms. Among these 46%, 36% were affected by a non-obstructive disease and 10% by an obstructive pathology.
Lead researcher Dr Klaus Fuglsang Kofoed, a professor in the Department of Cardiology at the University of Copenhagen, says early detection should be a key part of treating heart problems.
He states thus: “This study is one of the first of its kind and we are very optimistic about these results. We now hope that screening for cardiovascular diseases will be prescribed more, why not on the same model of what is happening with cancer screening?“.
Can the coroscanner be considered as a screening tool?
So should screening by coroscanner be generalized to all adults over 40? Questioned by Doctissimo, Dr. Nathan Malka, cardiologist in Paris, judges that: “The coronary scanner is an examination that has proven its worth in the diagnosis of coronary pathologies. Recent studies indeed underline its interest in screening strategies for cardiovascular pathologies. Its accessibility, although increasing, X-rays and the use of iodinated contrast products, are still obstacles to wide use on the scale of a territory or an age group.“.