Heart Attack Risk in Apparently Fit People

Click to go to our Home Page


A scanning technique called electron beam computed tomography was able to identify clogged arteries--a known heart attack risk even among healthy individuals who do not have the usual high-risk factors for heart attacks, report researchers at an annual con ference of the American Heart Association in San Antonio, Texas. "For people who are at risk because of a family history of early heart disease, this is an extremely good test to add to a regular physical exam," says U.S. Army cardiologist Jerel Zoltick.

"However, for people who are at very low risk with no family history of heart disease, the benefits of the [scan] may be limited." The scan, which costs about $600 and takes about 90 seconds, can detect calcium deposits in heart arteries. Calcium deposits are a part of atherosclerosis, the process of thickening and hardening of the arteries, which starts with the build-up of soft, fatty deposits. As time passes calcium can become part of the build-up.