Information given to postmenopausal women on coronary computed tomography may influence cardiac risk reduction efforts

J Clin Epidemiol. 2007 Apr;60(4):389-96. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2006.07.010. Epub 2006 Dec 11.


Objective: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is largely preventable through appropriate risk-factor modification. We sought to compare effects of comprehensive cardiac risk factor screening with and without computed tomography (CT) imaging of the coronary arteries on behavior change related to cardiac risk in postmenopausal women.

Study design and setting: 56 postmenopausal women were randomized to alternative screening programs and followed for 1 year.

Results: Subjects randomized (n=26) to the CT imaging group were shown images of their coronary arteries and received an interpretation from a radiologist. Most subjects in the CT group had a very low-risk (73.1%) coronary calcification score at baseline. Systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL, and cholesterol/HDL ratio declined significantly in the conventional screening group, but not in the CT imaging group (P<0.05). As compared to baseline values, study participation lead to significant reductions in total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and blood pressure at 6 months (P<0.05) and triglyceride (P<0.05) at 12 months.

Conclusions: CVD risk-screening programs can facilitate cardiac risk reduction in women, but these data do not support an independent benefit of coronary CT imaging in a low-to-moderate risk group. The possibility of a deleterious effect of imaging on patient commitment to lifestyle changes is suggested.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Calcinosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Coronary Angiography / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Postmenopause*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Lipids
  • Cholesterol