Simple test predicts heart health in diabetic patients
A study has found that a common test in the form of a CT scan may be useful in predicting early death in individuals with diabetes.
The test conducted by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center was able to identify which of the individuals were at a higher risk.
`People with diabetes are already at high risk of developing heart disease and experiencing an early death,` Donald W. Bowden, Ph.D., the director of the Center for Diabetes Research at Wake Forest Baptist and lead investigator, said.
`With this study, we’ve discovered that we can identify a subset of individuals within this high risk group who are at even higher risk, and the means to do this is already widely available in the form of a computed tomography (CT) scan – a relatively inexpensive and non-invasive test,` he explained.
For the Diabetes Heart Study, Bowden and colleagues followed nearly 1,500 patients with diabetes in North Carolina for about 13-years, gathering data on various aspects of the disease and how it affects individual health.
As original study participants began to die, the researchers sought to understand why.
A high coronary artery calcium (CAC) score is known to be a strong indicator of coronary heart disease. The score provides a measure of how much coronary artery disease, or calcified `plaque` is present in the blood vessels of the heart.
Plaque plays a major role in heart attacks and other vascular events and can be measured by taking a special `gated` CT scan which, in comparison to typical CT scans, uses very few X-rays, does not require any injections and generally takes less than 10 minutes to perform.