Understanding Coronary Calcification and Its Treatment

Calcium deposits in your arteries are not related to your diet or supplements you are taking. They are produced because blood vessel cells don't work as they should.

Coronary artery calcification

occurs when calcium is deposited in the inner layer of the coronary arteries, and it reflects atherosclerotic disease and incrementally predicts future cardiovascular events (CVD). Computed tomography (CT) provides a different means of detecting and quantifying coronary plaque as well as valve calcification, and it has become an exponentially expanding field of research in cardiology and radiology.

Since calcification can not only be detected, but can also be quantified with excellent reproducibility, it has been a vital tool in studies involving new therapies for cardiovascular diseases. In this review, we intend to review some of the promising therapies in sight and the role of cardiac computed tomography and cardiac calcification in these studies. Arterial calcification consists mainly of precipitates of apatite calcium salt, similar to hydroxyapatite, found in bones. There are several risk factors associated with the pathogenesis of vascular calcification, such as older age, African descent, lack of university education, high total cholesterol, smoking and hypertension.

Arteries are blood vessels that move oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. In the early stages of arterial disease, the lining of the arteries becomes inflamed, allowing plaque (made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and fibrous tissue) to form on the artery wall. The explanation is that LDL-C plays a role in the calcification and mineralization phase of the early disease process, but may not play an important role in the progression of the disease. The most recent procedure uses a catheter (tube) with a device on the end that sends pressure waves to cause the calcification to undo.

The most recent therapies have been shown to slow the progression of coronary calcification and are therefore beneficial in slowing the progression of atherosclerotic disease. Anatomically, calcifications can be intimate or medial, occurring in an irregular or diffuse pattern respectively. In particular, there is a high risk of medial artery calcification with increasing age and hyperglycemia since the arteries do not clog but instead harden. Care should also be taken with the use of certain drugs such as vitamin K antagonists which appear to have an accelerating effect on arterial calcification.

Aortic valve calcification (AVC), which can be identified and quantified using computed tomography, is a subclinical form of calcified aortic valve stenosis (CAVS), which affects more than 2.5 million people in North America.Annual tests are important for detecting and treating coronary calcification, especially if you have a high risk of heart disease. In addition to coronary calcification, genetic variation in the LPA locus mediated by Lp (a) levels has been shown to be associated with aortic valve calcification. However several studies have revealed that VKA is associated with increased calcification in the heart both in the coronary arteries and in the aortic valve.Computed tomography provides a different means of detecting and quantifying coronary calcification as well as valvular calcification with excellent reproducibility. Other diagnostic modalities are available to detect coronary calcification and also to stratify plaque stability such as intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), optical coherence tomography (OCT), angioscopy, magnetic resonance angiography and near-infrared fluorescence.Computed tomography not only makes it possible to obtain vital anatomical information but also a good reproducibility of measurements between different types of scanners makes it possible to follow the progression of calcification over time.

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