Timely detection can prevent heart disease

Timely detection can prevent heart disease
Kuldip Bhatia
Ludhiana, September 24
While most of the focus on coronary artery disease (CAD) nowadays is on the treatment of severe CAD, mainly where the condition has already settled in, the stress ought to be laid on primary prevention of the disease by way of detecting the same in early stages.

According to the World Health Organisation, cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, are the leading cause of death globally, killing more than 17 million people in 2005. Each year, 3.8 million men and 3.4 million women worldwide die from coronary heart diseases. Since 1990, more people have died from coronary heart disease than from any other cause.

Says Dr J. S.Gill of a heart care centre here, “In India, coronary heart disease is a major cause for concern. A recent global study on cardiac diseases by the WHO revealed that India has the highest number of deaths (over 1.5 million) from coronary heart disease throughout the world, followed by China where some 7.02 lakh lives were lost to heart disease.”

Focusing on the need of early detection of CAD, he observed that multi-slice CT Coronary Angiography with 64-slice technology is emerging as the most reliable non-invasive modality for the evaluation of heart disease.

“Impressive image quality and non-invasive nature of multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) angiography makes it a powerful tool in the evaluation of heart disease. CT Angiography (CTA) is an examination that uses X-rays to visualise blood flow in coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart. CT combines the use of X-rays with computerised analysis of the images. Beams of X-rays are passed from a rotating device through the heart from several different angles to create cross-sectional images, which then are assembled by computer into a three-dimensional picture of the heart.

He further says that methods of characterising (differentiating) the type of plaque in the arteries are being refined, so that ‘vulnerable’ plaques (blockages) that are more likely to rupture can be pinpointed for treatment, reducing the risk of heart attack.

Expressing similar views, Dr Gaurav Minocha, a consultant cardiologist at Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi, remarked that a growing number of studies had suggested that 64 slice coronary CT angiography is highly accurate for the exclusion of significant coronary artery stenosis with negative predictive values of 98 to 100 per cent in comparison with invasive selective coronary angiography. This means that when the study is reported to be normal, it will be normal.