ATLANTA, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Mammograms may help in detecting more than breast cancer: They may also help detect kidney disease, U.S. researchers suggest.
Study leader Dr.W. Charles O'Neill of Emory University in Atlanta found 90 percent of routine mammograms revealing calcifications in the breast artery showed evidence of calcifications in other blood vessels. Specifically, 36 percent of women with kidney disease advanced to end-stage renal disease had breast arterial calcifications in mammograms performed several years earlier, the study said.
The study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found mammograms showed calcium deposits in the breast arteries in nearly two-thirds of women with end-stage renal disease versus 17 percent of a matched group without kidney disease.
"Breast arterial calcification is a specific and useful marker of medial vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease, and its prevalence is markedly increased in end-stage renal disease and advanced chronic kidney disease," the researchers said in a statement. They point out arterial calcium deposits may contribute to the high rate of death from heart disease in patients with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease.
O'Neill and colleagues reviewed routine mammograms performed in 71 women with end-stage renal disease and examined samples of breast artery tissue from 16 women with kidney disease.