Colon scans reveal heart risk

8:09pm, December 13, 2004

From Chicago, at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America

Virtual colonoscopy, a scanning procedure designed to spot cancer-related growths in the colon, may offer a side benefit: identifying heart attacks that are waiting to happen. Radiologists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have found that ominous circulation-hampering calcium deposits in an abdominal artery are visible on colon scans.

Jesse A. Davila, now at the Mayo Clinic's facility in Jacksonville, Fla., and his colleagues reviewed 480 patients' test results from computed tomography (CT) scans. Physicians had ordered the scans to examine abnormalities in the patients' colons, but the images show a full cross-section of the abdomen and so also depict the main artery that carries blood to the lower trunk and legs.

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