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What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading worldwide cause of death.

The commonest form is Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) affecting the arteries on the surface of the heart, which supply blood to the heart muscle.

Through an inflammatory process, called atherosclerosis, cholesterol is deposited in the wall of these arteries, which causes build-up of localised narrowings called “plaques”. This progressively reduces blood flow, especially during exertion, which can result in chest pain (called angina).

Inflammation in the arterial wall can weaken the surface of a plaque, leading to its sudden rupture and resulting in a blood clot which may block the artery and cause a heart attack or even sudden death, even when blood flow was not significantly reduced before.
Over time, CAD can weaken the heart muscle. This may lead to heart failure, a serious condition where the heart can’t pump as much blood as the body needs.

The same arterial disease often occurs in other important arteries in the body, such as those supplying the brain, and can lead to a stroke.

High blood pressure
High cholesterol
Overweight and obesity
A family history of heart disease
The major risk factors for CAD are known and include high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and family history. Alcohol, stress, diet, obesity and lack of fitness are also important.

Managing these risk factors with a healthy lifestyle (such as reduced alcohol intake, smoking cessation and regular physical activity), and where necessary medications, can help reduce your future risk of developing CAD and its complications.

The most common symptom of CAD is angina, which causes tightness in the chest often described as squeezing.

Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, which is often severe but may also feel like indigestion or heartburn, upper back or neck pain, cold sweat, dizziness or nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue and shortness of breath.

If you have symptoms, or important risk factors, your doctor may wish to determine the extent and pattern of your coronary artery disease, to provide best advice on your care.

Inflammation cannot be detected by current tests, which aim at identifying the degree of narrowing of coronary arteries, and their impact on blood flow. Unfortunately, close to 2/3 of all heart attacks occur in arteries that were not significantly narrowed before a plaque rupture caused the event.
Caristo has developed a new technology that analyses images of a routine test called Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA) to quantify the extent of inflammation in the coronary arteries. Large scientific studies in thousands of patients have shown that Caristo’s technology can detect inflammation before narrowings have developed in the coronary arteries.

When incorporating this information into the CaRi-Heart® Risk, close to 1/3 of patients have their future risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart-related condition reevaluated: In 15% of the cases to a lower risk, in 16% of the cases to a HIGHER risk.

This means your doctor will be able to better define the most appropriate treatment for you to prevent future heart attacks or avoid unnecessary medication and associated side effects.