January 19th, 2018



Creator of the Agatston Calcium Score and Founder of the Heart-Healthy
South Beach Diet

You’ve likely heard about President Trump’s recent physical examination as well as Sanjay Gupta’s reference to Trump’s calcium score as it relates to heart disease.

But what exactly is the calcium score, also known as the Agatston calcium score? How was it developed and how is it used today?

The Agatston score was created in 1990 and named after Dr. Arthur Agatston, founder of the heart-healthy South Beach Diet, who continues to practice cardiology in Miami Beach, Florida. The work leading to the Agatston calcium score was done at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach in the late 1980s.

In short, because of the increasingly widespread use of cardiac CT imaging, the Agatston calcium score has received great scientific and clinical interest as it was the first approach to quantifying coronary artery calcium. Knowing a patient’s coronary artery calcium score facilitates a more informed physician-patient discussion and the decision of whether or not to go on decades-long statin therapy, which helps reduce the risk of a heart attack and stroke.


Arthur Agatston, M.D., is the Medical Director of Wellness and Prevention for Baptist Health South Florida. A pioneer in cardiac disease prevention, Dr. Agatston worked with Dr. Warren Janowitz to formulate the Agatston Score, a method of screening for coronary calcium as an indicator of atherosclerosis that is used at medical centers throughout the world and considered by most experts to be the best single predictor of a future heart attack. Dr. Agatston is a clinical professor of medicine at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. His cardiology practice in Miami Beach is focused on preventing heart attacks in high-risk patients.

Known as the author of the internationally best-selling book, The South Beach Diet, his first nonacademic work, Dr. Agatston created his balanced approach to healthy eating to help his patients improve their blood chemistries and lose weight. Today, the South Beach Diet is the trusted choice of millions and there are more than 23 million copies of The South Beach Diet and its companion books in print worldwide. The lifestyle program has grown to include Web-based materials and a family of healthy and convenient foods, including delicious and nutritionally balanced bars and snacks, as well as a popular online program, SouthBeachDiet.com. Dr. Agatston’s most recent books, The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution and The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution Cookbook, were published in 2013.

Dr. Agatston has published more than 100 scientific articles and abstracts in medical journals and is a frequent lecturer across the U.S. and around the world on diet, cardiac imaging, and the prevention of heart disease. In recognition of his contributions to cardiac prevention, the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT) created the prestigious Arthur S. Agatston Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Award in 2011, which is given annually to pioneers in cardiac prevention. Among his many television appearances, Dr. Agatston was featured along with President Bill Clinton on Sanjay Gupta’s 2011 CNN special, “The Last Heart Attack.”


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