The University of Chicago Hospitals and Emory Heart Center researchers studied the records of 32,372 patients undergoing coronary angiography at Emory University Hospitals in Atlanta between 1995 and 2003 and identified 276 with coronary artery aneurysms (abnormal enlargement or bulging of arteries) .The presence of an aneurysm of any size was found to have an adverse effect on long-term mortality similar to diabetes, coronary artery disease (CAD) and high cholesterol levels. "The results also show that no single risk factor -- CAD, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, sex, or age -- was associated with the size of an aneurysm," says Emory Heart Center cardiologist Laurence S. Sperling, MD, co-author of the study. Other study authors are Timir S. Baman, MD; Jason H. Cole, MD; and Chandan M. Devireddy, MD.
"In addition, we found these patients have a predicted 5-year mortality rate of 29.1% -- a figure that is somewhat troubling, especially with the marked improvement in medical technology over recent years," Dr. Sperling, Director of Preventive Cardiology at Emory, adds. "In light of these findings, we believe all patients with angiographic evidence of coronary aneurysms should receive aggressive modification of coronary risk factors -- whether or not serious coronary disease is present. This research shows that clinicians should take all coronary aneurysms, regardless of size, seriously and monitor them aggressively."