It helps for people to actually see the images of their own clogged arteries after undergoing coronary artery calcium scoring with cardiac computed tomography, in terms of adhering to statin therapy and losing weight as recommended by physicians, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Scientific Sessions.
Results of two separate studies completed at the Los Angeles Biomed Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles were presented by Nove Kalia, MD, currently a fellow in cardiology at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.
Patients undergoing coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring for various reasons during the past decade were shown images of their arteries in two separate retrospective studies — one study examined adherence to statin therapy and the other examined weight loss. In the statin study, 2,100 patients underwent CAC testing and were given a follow-up questionnaire. In the weight-loss study, 518 patients were observed for behavioral modifications resulting in weight loss after they were shown artery images. All study participants were followed for a mean of 3 years after the initial CAC scan.
Severity of disease had an effect on all results. Patients with a CAC score of >400 were 2.5 times more likely to take statins as directed and more than three times more likely to have lost weight compared with participants who had little or no evidence of underlying disease.
Statin compliance and weight loss were lowest among participants with a CAC score equal to 0 (36.2% statin compliance and 21.8% with weight loss). Participants with scores of 1 to 99 showed 51.8% statin compliance and 35.7% with weight loss; 100 to 399 showed 56.5% statin compliance and 31.5% with weight loss; and 400 or greater showed 59.1% statin compliance and 38.2% with weight loss (P<.001 for trend).
“Beyond the diagnostic and predictive value of cardiac CT, it is also quite beneficial in terms of motivating people to pursue behaviors that we know result in a reduction in CV mortality and morbidity,” Kalia, a lead investigator for both studies, said in a press release. “Taking medication as directed, as well as adhering to behavioral modification, such as exercise for weight loss, can both have a huge impact on CV events going forward. What’s most interesting is that the higher the person’s calcium score, the more likely they were to be compliant.”
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Disclosure: Dr. Kalia reports no relevant financial disclosures.