EBT heart scan can predict mortality

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Electron beam tomography (EBT) heart scan technology is an independent predictor of all-cause mortality after controlling for age, gender, ethnicity and cardiac-risk factors, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study, “Long-Term Prognosis Associated with Coronary Calcification,” led by Matthew Budoff, MD, associate professor of medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, found that coronary artery calcium (CAC) scanning using an EBT scanner “provides independent and incremental prognostic information in addition to traditional risk factors in the prediction of all-cause mortality.”

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the prognostic value of CAC, a known marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, in an ethnically diverse cohort of 14,812 patients for the prediction of all-cause mortality.

According to Budoff, “about 90 percent of people with heart disease go undiagnosed, either because they never see a physician, they’re relying solely on statins to treat their symptoms, or they’re undergoing exams that only detect heart disease when it’s dangerously far along. This study validates my long-held belief that only EBT scanning can fully detect and predict heart disease among at-risk patients.”

Budoff also noted that the other leading heart scanner on the market today, the 64-slice CT, exposes patients to significantly more radiation than they will receive from an EBT scan.

By measuring the amount of calcium present in a person’s coronary arteries, Budoff said an EBT scan provides an accurate picture of how much plaque has accumulated – vital information since more plaque translates directly into greater heart attack risk.

He said that EBT is the most accurate technology for detecting heart disease before the onset of symptoms and its capability to rule out the presence of heart disease is unsurpassed.

“It's very important to find out who's walking around with plaque in their arteries and is at high risk for a heart attack,” Budoff said. “Once cardiologists are completely familiar with EBT scanners, they invariably realize this technology provides nothing less than a mammogram of the heart and doesn't miss a thing.”