Pictures of Clogged Arteries May Help Reduce Cardiovascular Risk 

Showing pictures of atherosclerosis to patients at high cardiovascular risk could lead to better compliance.

2 min read

Showing is more impactful than saying, a recent research in the Lancet journal has found. While it is difficult to make patients at high cardiovascular risk adopt healthier lifestyles, showing them pictures of their atherosclerosis could help make them realize the extent of the problem and lower health risk, the researchers claim.

Atherosclerosis is a disease that disrupts the flow of blood around the body, posing the risk of serious complications.


As reported in Medibulletin, co-author of the study, Professor Ulf Näslund, Umea University, Sweden, said,

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in many countries, and despite a wealth of evidence about effective prevention methods from medication to lifestyle changes, adherence is low.

The study enrolled over 3000 individuals ,of which 1749 were randomly assigned to the intervention group (pictorial representation of the ultrasound along with a phone call from a nurse to explain) and 1783 were assigned to the control group (not informed).

After a one-year follow-up, participants underwent clinical examination, blood sampling, and ultrasound assessment of carotid intima media wall thickness and plaque formation, measures to identify atherosclerosis risk.

Näslund revealed that the differences were modest, but important, and the effect was largest among those at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Imaging technologies such as CT and MRI might allow for a more precise assessment of risk, but these technologies have a higher cost and are not available on an equitable basis for the entire population. Our approach integrated an ultrasound scan, and a follow up call with a nurse, into an already established screening programme, meaning our findings are highly relevant to clinical practice.

Common modifiable factors namely physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, harmful effects of tobacco and alcohol and other habit forming substances have been identified to reduce risk of cardiovascular problems.

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