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Imaging for Heart Disease Severity Impacts Treatment

Last Updated: September 29, 2009.

Coronary artery disease patients who underwent coronary computed tomographic angiography to stratify disease severity subsequently had treatment and risk factor control stepped up, according to a study in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

TUESDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Coronary artery disease (CAD) patients who underwent coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA) to stratify disease severity subsequently had treatment and risk factor control stepped up, according to a study in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Troy M. LaBounty, M.D., of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues followed up 208 consecutive patients who underwent CCTA and were stratified for CAD as either absent, mild (1 to 49 percent stenosis), moderate (50 to 69 percent stenosis), or severe (greater than or equal to 70 percent stenosis). In mean follow-up of 8.1 months, the researchers looked at the impact of CCTA stratification on subsequent treatment and risk factor control.

The researchers found that for absent, mild, moderate, and severe CAD, aspirin was begun in 0, 14, 36, and 15 percent of patients, respectively; statins were begun or increased in 4, 23, 44, and 42 percent of patients, respectively; and hypertension medications were begun or increased in 16, 10, 26, and 38 percent of patients, respectively.

"Increasing grades of CAD severity as detected by CCTA were associated with more medical treatment of CAD and its risk factors and are associated with enhanced control of hypertension and dyslipidemia. Findings on CCTA thus appear to result in treatment reclassification of patients with CAD, with resultant influences on physician behavior and patient risk factor profiles," the authors write.

Authors of the study reported financial relationships with medical and pharmaceutical companies.

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