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Mammograms may aid in detecting cardiovascular risk.

According to new research, routine mammograms, which are used to check for breast cancer, may also reveal information about a woman's risk of heart disease.

On mammograms, white patches or lines indicate calcium buildup in the breast arteries. This type of calcification differs from the calcification of the coronary arteries, which is recognized to be a sign of increased cardiovascular risk. Researchers tracked 5,059 postmenopausal women (ages 60 to 79) for six and a half years for this study. They discovered that women with breast artery calcification were 51 per cent more likely than women without calcification to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging published the study on March 15, 2022.

The presence of calcifications in the breast arteries is not always included in mammography findings. The researchers hope that their findings may lead to revisions in rules, allowing future reports to contain this information. They do warn, however, that the absence of calcification in the breast arteries does not always imply a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.


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