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March 24 2010

Assessment of Atherosclerosis in Egyptian Mummies

JAMA. 2010;303(12):1149-1150. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.326

To the Editor: In their Research Letter, Dr Allam and colleagues1 described the presence of calcium hydroxyapatite in vessel walls in 15 of 22 ancient Egyptian mummies examined with whole-body 6-slice computed tomographic (CT) imaging. The authors stated that “[c]alcification in the wall of a clearly identifiable artery was considered diagnostic of atherosclerosis, and calcification along an artery's expected course was considered probable atherosclerosis.” We believe that this criterion was incorrect.