Can Whole Body Scans Diagnose Coronary Artery Disease?

by Dr Sam Girgis on January 19, 2012

I recently came across this video depicting the story of Bill Weir and his journey to interview the famous Dr. David Agus at the time of the publication of his book “The End of Illness”.  Dr. David Agus performed a whole body CT scan, which showed calcifications in Mr. Weir’s coronary arteries.  In particular, a calcification in the left anterior descending coronary artery was found and described as increasing his risk of a myocardial infarction, or heart attack in the near future.  The question that needs to be asked is whether this is the standard of care in medicine?  Following the story, there has been much controversy within the medical community regarding the results.  These types of scans are not usually performed for patients without symptoms, and the findings do not always correlate with actual coronary artery disease.  In fact, many people have calcifications in their coronary arteries that can be visualized on CT scans but do not actually have coronary artery disease.  These results are more likely to increase anxiety, and possibly scare a patient into living a healthier lifestyle than actually identifying those patients that have coronary artery disease and increased risk of myocardial infarction.  We should continue with the use of the standard cardiac stress tests and coronary angiography to identify coronary artery lesions that may progress to the development of a myocardial infarction.


See the video entitled “Bill Weir visits Dr. David Agus and learns something completely unexpected” below:


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