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SNU Hospital Finds Methods to Test for Cardiovascular Disease in Women

Nov 06, 2018

(From left) Doctors YOON Yeonyee (Cardiology), KIM Kyung-Min (Endocrinology), YUN Bo-La (Radiology), and SUH Jung-Won (Cardiology)
(From left) Doctors YOON Yeonyee (Cardiology), KIM Kyung-Min (Endocrinology), YUN Bo-La (Radiology), and SUH Jung-Won (Cardiology)

On October 20, the results of a research project by a team from the SNU Bundang Hospital were released stating that mammography (low dose x-ray scans of the breast) and bone density scans could be used to test for cardiovascular diseases in women.

The research team, which included Dr. Yoon Yeonyee (Department of Cardiology), Dr. Kim Kyung-Min (Dept. of Internal Medicine for Endocrinology), Dr. Yun Bo-La (Department of Radiology), and Dr. Suh Jung-Won (Department of Cardiology), visited the hospital’s health examination center where they performed mammography, bone mineral density scans, and computerized tomography scans (CT) on 2100 woman.

9.5% (199) of the subjects were found to have breast cancer and 34.1% (716) were diagnosed with osteoporosis (low bone mass leading to enhanced likelihood of bone fragility). The tests indicated that women with mammary arteriosclerosis are 3.02 times more likely to develop coronary thrombosis (blood clots) than those who do not. Additional results showed the women diagnosed with osteopenia and osteoporosis were 1.91 times more at risk of coronary atherosclerosis than those who were not.

Coronary arteriosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol builds up in the cardiovascular system, making the blood vessels hard and narrow. Commonly occurring in the elder population, arteriosclerosis is caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity. If more than 70 percent of the blood vessels in the heart are blocked, paralysis, speech disorders, impaired vision, dizziness, and stroke are some of the possible effects.

According to Professor Yoon, ”Breast and bone density tests allow us to predict and treat cardiovascular diseases of women early without additional cost or radiation exposure." The research paper has been published in JACC Cardiovascular Imaging, an American scientific journal which focuses on clinical cardiology.

Written by Yu Young Jin, SNU English Editor
Reviewed by Professor Travis Lamar Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations,