Publications & Research

The Association of Breast Arterial Calcification and Coronary Heart Disease

A routine mammogram checking for breast cancer may predict the future development of heart disease, according to a study in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Fine, granular deposits along the circumference of breast arteries, called breast arterial calcifications, are visible on 3% to 29% of breast scans and are frequently seen in women with heart disease. The study looked at 1,454 U.S. women who received mammograms in 2004. After five years, 20.8% of the subjects who tested positive for calcifications had developed heart disease compared with 5.4% who tested negative. The risk of heart disease in women with breast calcification was 6.3% compared with 2.3% in those without calcification. Of the women with calcification, 58.3% developed stroke compared with 13.5% who were calcification-free. Adjusting for age and other risk factors didn’t affect the findings. Researchers recommended calcifications be routinely reported on breast scans. Using mammography to screen for heart disease could lead to earlier detection and intervention, they said.

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