037-Ask Dr Soram-Interview with Ron Karlsberg MD about Coronary CT Angiograms –Part 1 of 3


I am back from my vacation in Maui with my wife and friends and we had a  great time!  We went to the ocean every day and even spent an entire day of the ocean with good sunblock and an umbrella.

Just two days after I got back from Hawaii I went to the Dr. John McDougall advanced weekend in Santa Rosa California that I told you about on the last podcast. It was a fantastic meeting. Dean Ornish M.D., was the lead speaker and he gave a wonderful talk about the work he’s doing with diet and lifestyle in reversing heart disease and stabilizing or reversing prostate cancer. Here is his site

and here is his lecture on TED

Also William Roberts, M.D., the editor of the American Journal of Cardiology also gave a great lecture and you watch a free YouTube video of him entitled “Humans are Herbivores”.

I encourage any of you who are vegans or are interested in being a vegan to come to the next intensive that he has which will be in March of next year.

For those of you who were not able to attend the conference, you can watch the recorded videos on Dr. McDougall’s website.

There is a fee for this but it is well worth it, and you don’t  even have to leave your house!

In this podcast today,  I interview one of my cardiac consultants, Ron Karlsberg M.D. Dr. , is an expert clinical interventional cardiologist with extensive experience in consultative cardiology, clinical research and he is the recipient of over 300 research grants in cardiology. Dr. Karlsberg has a special interest in digital medical imaging. He is a recognized expert in incorporating state-of-the-art treatments and cutting-edge medical therapies into clinical practice. He directs the CVM G advanced imaging Center which is one of the first office-based 64 CT centers. The CVMG Advanced Imaging Centers in collaboration with Cedars Sinai Medical Centerne of the large experiences in advanced office-based cardiac Imaging.

In this interview, Dr. Karlsberg and I discuss a new technique called the CT Cardiac Angiogram. In our discussion, we review exactly what is involved  in this cardiac test. We discuss how this test compares with the traditional EBCT calcium score.

We discuss the two types of plaque that the heart can get-calcified plaque, and soft non-calcified plaque. A person with no calcium plaque has at least a 95% chance of not having a cardiac event (for example a heart attack) in the next five years.

The difference between the CT angiogram and a simple calcium scan or EBCT is that the angiogram uses a small amount of contrast media which is medical iodine. In the CT angiogram, very sophisticated enhanced software allows the doctor to create a 3-D image of the heart and actually see the coronary arteries. With this technique early cardiac plaque can be identified and specifically plaques that are at risk for closing (occlusion) are very visible.

With soft plaque, early intervention is very important. Soft plaque can break off and cause a heart attack.

We discuss exercise tests and Dr. Karlsberg points out that these tests measure the consequences of reduced blood flow. These tests will go positive once there is an 80 to 90% blockage of an artery. He points out that exercise testing can miss narrowing of the arteries including serious narrowing. He points out that exercise testing tends to underestimate the amount of plaque.

Dr. Karlsberg reminds me that the CT angigram is new technology and we must be cautious about integrating this test with the other tests available to cardiologists.

He states that a CT angiogram will never miss disease if the study and technique are good.

In my next podcast I will have part two of my interview with Dr. Karlsberg. We lead off that conversation with a discussion of what are the risks associated with the CT Angiogram.

Dr Karlsberg can be contacted through his website .

Do you have family or friends who have had heart disease? Have they had this test? Do you see the advantage and usefulness of this test in screening people who are at risk but to have no symptoms? I look forward to hearing from you either in comments below or through e-mail at questions@askdrsoram.com.



About Dr. Soram Khalsa

As an MD, Dr Soram specializes in Integrative Medicine combining diet, nutrition, acupuncture, herbs and nutrition. Visit Dr Soram’s Healthy Living Store where you’ll find high-quality nutritional supplements: