Cardiovascular Imaging, states, people with no calcium accumulation in the coronary arteries considerably showed lesser risk of future heart attack or stroke although it leads to other risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, or bad cholesterol levels, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

According to the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guideline, individuals are more likely to develop cardiovascular risk (<7.5 % level), but the people with no calcium in arteries, were found with <3% chance of a cardiovascular event in the next 10 years.

Dr. Parag Joshi, assistant professor of Internal Medicine said that rate of events were low when there was no calcium deposition in the coronary artery. The results revealed that people without calcium accumulation in their blood vessels might not have to take statins although the presence of other risk factors causes coronary disease.

He continued that addition of computed tomography (CT) scan to the statin therapy for calcium might be beneficial for doctors and patients to discuss about treatment.  A CT scan is an easy and affordable test that can provide lots of information about the patient's 10-year risk, says Dr. Joshi.

Deposition of calcium in the coronary arteries leads to subsequent plaque build-up and calcification. Individuals (n=6,184, age; 45 to 84) who had never had a heart attack or stroke, took part in a study known as MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis), were subjected for the CT scans of the chest and heart. About 50% of the participants were found with zero score for coronary artery calcium (CAC).

While, a zero CAC score not either indicated that plaque was absent inside the heart's arteries or that the individual had no risk. Relatively, it indicated that the individual's risk of a heart attack was lesser than the threshold where physicians usually suggest statin treatment, noted Dr. Joshi.

The researcher used coronary CT angiography, an advanced technology that provides a very detailed look at the heart and related arteries and said, “In addition, there may be an argument for starting statin treatment before there is evidence of calcium build-up if there are concerns the patient will develop a problem later because of family history”. He continued that statin treatment is of little risk (5 %) and is inexpensive.

Dr. Joshi concludes, a CAC score can help the clinician to decide whether to begin with a statin for primary prevention of heart attacks and strokes, or not.