Heart screens questioned

CORONARY computed tomographic angiography (CCTA) in asymptomatic patients may lead to aggressive intervention without reducing cardiovascular events, a study suggests.

The first study to evaluate CCTA screening in a matched cohort examined outcomes in 2000 South Korean patients – mostly men aged in their early 50s – half of whom had been screened.

Patients with signs of atherosclerosis on scanning were 10 times more likely to be sent for a follow-up exercise stress test, nuclear medicine scan or cardiac catheterisation.

They were also more likely to be put on cholesterol-lowering medication or aspirin, but there was no difference between the groups in incidence of cardiac events at 18 months.

“Our findings suggest that low-risk patients without symptoms don’t benefit in the short term from knowing whether or not plaque has been detected using CT angiography,” the study concluded. 

However, a