Mammograms could also detect cardiovascular disease. The presence of micro-calcification in the breasts would indicate their presence in the arteries as well.
A new study presented at the American College of Cardiology annual conference in Chicago (USA) suggests that mammography could also be used to detect cardiovascular disease in women. According to Dr. Harvey Hecht, head of the Cardiovascular Imaging department at the New York Mount Sinai Hospital, the detection of micro-calcification in the chest could indicate the presence of other small calcium deposits in the arteries, increasing the Cardiac risk.
For their study, published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging, the researchers recruited 292 women who had performed a mammogram and a CT of the arteries in the past 12 months. Of these women, 42.5% had micro calcification on their mammography and 70% of these were also calcium deposits appearing on the CT. These calcium deposits can eventually alter the wall of the arteries and lead to obstruction of the vessel.
By examining more particularly the younger women (under 60 years of age), physicians found that 83% of those with micro-calcification also had calcium deposits in the arteries.
“This study shows that mammography performed as early as 50 years old could provide an opportunity to identify women at heart risk who would not normally have been subjected to cardiovascular testing.” says Dr. Hecht.