Journal scan

Seeing images of calcified coronary arteries may serve as patients’ wake-up call

People newly diagnosed with coronary artery disease may be more likely to change their lifestyles if shown images of their own calcified coronary arteries during a consultation with a nurse.

Picture credit: SPL

The study included 189 patients with hyperlipidaemia who had undergone a computed tomography angiography (CTA) of their coronary arteries. Patients were randomised to standard follow up or a 25-minute consultation with a nurse. During the consultation, patients were shown a CTA image of their calcified coronary arteries. The nurse explained the increased risk of future adverse cardiovascular events and gave advice on drug therapy, healthy diet, physical activity and smoking cessation.

At six months follow up, compared to baseline, the intervention group had lost 1.5kg on average, while the control group had gained an average of 0.5kg. There was also a higher degree of adherence to statin therapy in the intervention group. More patients in the control group continued smoking and eating an unhealthy diet.

Seeing their calcified coronary arteries on the CTA image ‘may be the wake-up call patients need’, said researcher Rikke Elmose Mols, a nurse and PhD student in the department of cardiology at Aarhu University Hospital-Skejby in Denmark.

The study was presented at EuroHeartCare, the annual meeting of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied professions of the European Society of Cardiology.

The 2015 meeting was held in June in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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