Coronary artery calcification found on CT predicts death

December 14, 2010

Visual assessment of coronary artery calcification on low-dose CT scans provides a significant indicator of cardiovascular death, a study found.

Visual assessment of coronary artery calcification on low-dose CT scans provides a significant indicator of cardiovascular death, a study found.

Coronary artery calcification was assessed on ungated low-dose CT scans of the chest in a cohort of 8782 smokers aged 40 to 85. Each participant received a coronary artery calcification score of 0 to 12. The date and cause of death were obtained through the National Death Index.

The rate of cardiovascular deaths increased with an increasing coronary artery score. For patients with a score of zero, the rate was 1.2%. For patients with a score of one to three, the rate was 1.8%; for patients with a score of seven to 12, the rate was 5.3%. A score of at least four was a significant predictor of cardiovascular death, the researchers said. Follow-up ranged from 0.3 months to 91.9 months with a median of 72.3 months (Radiol 2010;257:541-548).

Even after adjusting for sex, age, and pack-years of smoking, the coronary artery calcification score remained significant.Even after adjusting for sex, age, and pack-years of smoking, the coronary artery calcification score remained significant.