Researchers say Virtual colonoscopy, an imaging tool used to identify colon cancer early, may also be able to detect heart attack risk in patients.
A virtual colonoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that tests for colon cancer using 2-D and 3-D imaging without the sedation and higher cost of regular colonoscopies. In a recent study researchers examined the records of 480 patients who received virtual colonoscopy exams between 1995 and 1998.
Results showed a direct link between high aortic calcium scores measured during the procedure and the nine patients who suffered a heart attack after the screening. Researchers say looking at calcification scores during a virtual colonoscopy can help identify patients at risk for developing heart disease. Thus researchers say both men and women older than 50 should be screened for colon cancer.