“Fact Check” Fact Check

Recently comments I made during an ABC interview were analysed by RMIT ABC Fact Check (see article here) and although I support most of the comments made in this excellent article, I would like to point out that some of the facts in the so-called fact check were wrong.

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screenshot from article

Firstly, a comment was made about coronary calcium scoring stating this was the equivalent of 50 chest x-rays of radiation. Unfortunately, the authors of this fact check were looking at the wrong test which is intravenous CT coronary angiography which is a very high dose radiation check but a standard coronary calcium score performed on modern CT machines is only somewhere between 5–10 chest x-rays of radiation, whereas the intravenous CT coronary angiogram can be anywhere between 50–300 chest x-rays of radiation depending on the machine and protocol used.

One of the so-called experts interviewed for fact check said that it was difficult to predict heart attack and that there were other methods to do so other than a coronary calcium score. I never made any claims to the contrary but purely stated that coronary calcium scoring was a better predictor than hypertension and high cholesterol at predicting heart attack risk. This was the comment I made and the article proves that comment beyond doubt. I was certainly not calling for widespread testing in the population but only suggested that all men at 50 and all women at 60 should have a one off coronary calcium score. I was not suggesting there should be a Medicare rebate, as discussed in the article.

There has been a previous study from the US showing that people who are aware of their coronary calcium score levels are more motivated to change lifestyle behaviour and take medications than those who have a pure cholesterol and BP reading.

I congratulate the RMIT ABC fact check people for what I believe has been a well-researched and well written article but needed to clear up some of the misconceptions in the article.

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Dr Walker is an expert in the field of preventative cardiology and has published seven books. He gives lectures nationally and internationally.

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