Objectives: The study was done to test the ability to predict the extent of angiographically determined coronary artery disease (CAD) by quantification of coronary calcium using electron-beam computed tomography (EBCT) and to compare it with more conventional parameters for delineating the angiographic extent of CAD, that is, cardiovascular risk factors and radionuclide single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).
Background: The angiographic extent of CAD is a powerful predictor of subsequent events. Use of EBCT may be able to define it by virtue of its ability to determine plaque burden.
Methods: We examined 308 patients presenting with suspected but not previously known CAD who underwent selective coronary angiography. As measures of the angiographic extent of CAD, coronary artery greater even 20 (CAGE > or =20) and CAGE > or =50 scores represented the total number of coronary segments with > or =20% or > or =50% stenoses, respectively. The EBCT-derived total calcium scores were obtained in 291 patients, risk factors as defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program in 239 patients, and SPECT scans in 136 patients.
Results: Using multiple linear regression analysis, total calcium scores were better independent predictors of both CAGE > or =20 and CAGE > or =50 scores than either a SPECT-derived radionuclide perfusion score or the risk factors age, male gender and ratio of total/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. The association between EBCT and angiographic scores remained highly significant after excluding the influence of all interrelated risk factors and SPECT variables (r = 0.65; p < 0.001 for CAGE > or =20 scores, r = 0.50; p < 0.001 for CAGE > or =50 scores).
Conclusions: Coronary calcium predicts the angiographic extent of CAD in symptomatic patients and provides independent and incremental information to the more conventional clinical parameters derived from SPECT or risk assessment.