Rationale and objectives: Mitral annular calcification (MAC) may be a form of atherosclerosis and can lead to serious clinical consequences. The possible linkage between the presence and extent of MAC and coronary calcium score on CT is unknown. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether an association between MAC and coronary calcification (CC) exists in hypertensive patients with increased cardiovascular risk.
Methods: Five hundred twenty-two patients (284 men and 238 women, age range 52-80 years, mean 65+/-6 years), who were recruited to the INSIGHT study in the authors' region, underwent fast spiral CT of the heart as well as an echo Doppler examination. MAC was defined as advanced when the thickness of the calcium deposit was 5 mm or more; it was defined as trivial otherwise.
Results: The advanced MAC group comprised 62 patients, the trivial MAC group 215 patients, and the control group (without MAC) 245 patients. The prevalence of nonsevere CC was similar among the study groups, whereas the prevalence of severe CC (total calcium score >300) and the prevalence of proven coronary artery disease were associated with the presence and extent of MAC: respectively, 12% and 15% in control patients, 18% and 20% in patients with trivial MAC, and 29% and 29% in patients with advanced MAC. Multivariate analysis identified advanced MAC as an independent variable associated with severe CC and proved coronary artery disease.
Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrated an association of advanced MAC and severe CC on spiral CT and proved coronary artery disease on the clinical level. Thus, advanced but not trivial MAC makes the noninvasive diagnosis of coronary atherosclerosis more likely and presumably could be considered as a new indication for further coronary evaluation in high-risk patients.