Reuters News is reporting that a group of prominent cardiologists, dubbed the SHAPE Task Force, is recommending we doctors not only look at standard risk factors for heart disease – like obesity, diabetes, smoking, abnormal lipids, and high blood pressure – but, the task force says, doctors should routinely use CT scans to look for calcium deposits in the coronary arteries. Should we heed their recommendation?
The SHAPE group recommended that most men ages 45 to 75 and most women ages 55 to 75 have a CT scan to help predict their heart risks.
I’m not sure Cardiac CT (Calcium Score) screening for asymptomatic men and women is ready for prime time.
I agree with Dr. Mark J. Pletcher, of the University of California, San Francisco, and Dr. Philip Greenland, of Northwestern University in Chicago who point out that the SHAPE task force does NOT represent any official or professional organization.
Furthermore, Pletcher and Greenland question where the task force’s funding came from, and whether “conflicts of interest might bias the authors’ judgment.”
The SHAPE recommendations provide “food for thought,” these doctors say. “But as a guideline for clinical use, SHAPE does not shape up.”