Hard Plaque a Strong Indicator of Heart Attack Risk
A new study from researchers at the Intermountain Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, suggests that "hard" or calcified plaque could be a stronger indicator of heart attack risk than "soft" or noncalcified, lipid-heavy plaque. The new findings counter previous research that held soft plaque to be a more reliable predictor of severe cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks and strokes.
The study looked at artery plaque in 224 patients with diabetes but with no history of heart disease. Following patients for close to seven years, on average, researchers analyzed plaque composition in all of the study participants via computed tomography (CT) and correlated their data with risks of unstable angina, heart attack and death.
While noting that more studies are needed, the IHI team will also continue to carry out CT scans in hopes of confirming their early findings.
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