CAC women's trial

Heart disease is the number one killer of Australian women. Yet it is preventable if the right medications and healthy lifestyle changes are started early.

We are looking for women who have one or more female-specific risk factors for heart disease. These include: high blood pressure during pregnancy or pre-eclampsia, pregnancy-related diabetes and/or premature (early) menopause before the age of 44 years old. 

The research project aims to use a CT scan of the heart to measure a calcium in the heart to determine the risk of developing heart disease in the near future. This CT scan is simple, quick, and widely available, and can be used to detect heart disease. 

The CAC women’s trial is a randomised controlled research project. 

  • Arm one : using the score from the CT Scan will be used to guide medications and counselling regarding healthy lifestyle over a 6-month study period of the study duration. 

  • Arm two: The other half of the women will be blinded to the CT Scan score until 6-month timepoint.

The aim of the project is to test if a CT Calcium score can improve control of risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and promote a healthy lifestyle, such as regular exercise, eating a heart-healthy diet and not smoking.


You may be eligible to participate in this study if you match the selection critieria:

Criteria 1: Aged 40-65 years (35-65 years if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander)

Criteria 2: Low or intermediate risk for CVD based on traditional risk score (Australian absolute cardiovascular risk score between 3-15% inclusive)

Criteria 3: At least 1 risk-enhancing factor(s) (‘novel’ CVD risk factor) of:
a. Hypertensive disorder of pregnancy: gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia and/or

b. Gestational diabetes and/or

c. Premature menopause (surgical/natural<=age 44 years) and/or

d. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background

Exclusion criteria:
  • Very low risk for CVD (3% or below) or high risk for CVD (>15%) based on an Australian Absolute cardiovascular disease risk calculator:
  • Age 60 or over with diabetes mellitus (this automatically equates to risk score >15%)
  • Pre-existing cardiovascular disease (cardiac, cerebrovascular or peripheral vascular disease)
  • Known statin intolerance
  • On dialysis (as this can affect calcium scoring)
  • Currently pregnant or breastfeeding or plans for future pregnancies
  • Limited life expectancy of more than 5 years or diagnosis with a terminal illness
  • Unable to provide informed consent

How to participate

If you are interested in assisting with this important and exciting area of research, please contact the study facilitator: