Features August 2015 Issue

Statin Therapy May Increase Coronary Artery Calcium

A single calcification in an artery (A) and major calcium buildup in the same artery (B).

Statin Therapy May Increase Coronary Artery Calcium

But the result may actually make arterial plaque more stable and less likely to rupture and cause a heart attack or stroke.

Calcium deposits in the arteries of your heart (coronary arteries) are often viewed as precursors to heart disease and a higher risk of heart attack because they can narrow the blood vessels. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) density screenings, though somewhat controversial and not appropriate for all patients, are sometimes used by doctors to assess an individualís risk for cardiovascular disease. But a recent Cleveland Clinic study suggests that greater coronary calcification may have at least one benefit. In the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers found that patients on aggressive statin therapy tended to see a reduction in arterial plaque volume while also experiencing greater calcification of that plaque.

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