Prediman K. Shah, director of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Los Angeles, says it was a classic episode, the way 80% of cases of sudden cardiac arrest occur. He wasn’t impressed with the report of Russert’s recent successful treadmill test. Even if a test is normal, “You can still have plaque and be at risk,” he tells us. It wasn’t clear whether Russert had been taking a cholesterol-lowering statin, but even if his LDL or bad cholesterol was under control, that wouldn’t assure protection against a heart attack.
“Statins do stabilize plaque (and thus reduce chances of rupture), but they haven’t eliminated every heart attack or sudden death,” Shah says. “We have to look for other means.”
Bring on the coronary CT’s please.