CHARLOTTE, S.C., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- African-Americans have more non-calcified plaque than others, which may increase their heart attack risks, U.S. researchers say.
Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston say whites had more calcified plaque but African-Americans had non-calcified soft deposits deep in the walls of the arteries.
"The African-Americans and Caucasians we studied had approximately the same amount of plaque in their arteries, but different kinds of plaque," Dr. John Nance Jr. says in a statement.
Nance and colleagues compared 301 male and female patients, half African-American and half white, who underwent two types of imaging for acute chest pain -- calcium scoring to measure calcified plaque and contrast-enhanced coronary CT angiography to reveal non-calcified and mixed plaques.
"This study confirms that the coronary artery disease pathways that lead to acute cardiovascular events are different for Caucasians and African Americans," study co-author Dr. U. Joseph Schoepf says in a statement. "For African-American patients, coronary CT angiography may be a more appropriate screening tool for cardiovascular risk."
The effective dose of ionizing radiation has been considerably reduced, says Schoepf, making it a viable screening option.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.