The presence of plaque on an abdominal CT scan is a strong predictor of coronary artery disease and mortality, a new study has said.
Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital observed 367 patients who underwent an abdominal CT and cardiac catheterization between January 2004 and May 2009.
They found that patients had a 58 percent risk of having coronary artery disease with an AAC (abdominal aortic calcium, commonly known as plaque) score over 1,000 compared to patients who had an 11 percent risk with an AAC score of zero.
Also a high ACC score also was linked to a higher risk of mortality.
Meanwhile, researchers found that the lack of abdominal aortic calcium, or AAC, was associated with a low risk of coronary artery disease.
Mouaz Al-Mallah, M.D., director of Cardiac Imaging Research at Henry Ford and lead author of the study, said: "If you get a CT scan on your abdomen, there's probably a good chance that image can provide us with more information about the health of your heart arteries.
"This study clearly demonstrates that higher scores of abdominal aortic calcium are associated with higher rates of coronary artery disease and mortality.
"If you have heart disease and abdominal aortic calcifications, your chance of dying is higher than just having heart disease alone."
The study is se to be presented on March 14 at the 59th annual American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in Atlanta.