Does coronary artery screening by electron beam computed tomography motivate potentially beneficial lifestyle behaviors?

Am J Cardiol. 1996 Dec 1;78(11):1220-3. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(96)00599-1.


We evaluated the extent to which cardiovascular risk-reducing behaviors are initiated as a result of knowledge of newly detected coronary artery disease, based on test results from noninvasive electron beam computed tomography (EBCT). A total of 703 men and women, aged 28 to 84 years, asymptomatic and without prior coronary disease, who had a baseline EBCT coronary artery scan and basic medical history and risk factor information completed a follow-up survey questioning them about health behaviors undertaken since their scan. Baseline calcium scores were significantly higher in those who subsequently reported consulting with a physician, or reported new hospitalization, coronary revascularization, beginning aspirin usage, blood pressure medications, cholesterol-lowering therapy, decreasing dietary fat, losing weight, beginning vitamin E, and under more worry (all p <0.01). Other factors, including reducing time worked, obtaining life insurance, losing employment, increased work absenteeism, increasing exercise, or stopping smoking were not associated with coronary calcium. In logistic regression, after adjusting for age, gender, pre-existing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, and a positive family history of coronary disease, the natural log of total calcium score remained associated with new aspirin usage, new cholesterol medication, consulting with a physician, losing weight, decreasing dietary fat, new coronary revascularization (all p <0.01), but also new hospitalization (p <0.05) and increased worry (p <0.001). The results suggest that potentially important risk-reducing behaviors may be reinforced by the knowledge of a positive coronary artery scan, independent of preexisting coronary risk factor status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcium / analysis*
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Calcium