Coronary artery calcium evaluation by electron beam computed tomography and its relation to new cardiovascular events

Am J Cardiol. 2000 Sep 1;86(5):495-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(00)01000-6.


Electron beam computed tomography is widely used to screen for coronary artery calcium (CAC). We evaluated the relation of CAC to future cardiovascular disease events in 926 asymptomatic persons (735 men and 191 women, mean age 54 years) who underwent a baseline electron beam computed tomographic scan. All subjects included in this report returned a follow-up questionnaire 2 to 4 years (mean 3.3) after scanning, inquiring about myocardial infarction, stroke, and revascularizations. Sixty percent of men and 40% of women had a positive scan at baseline. Twenty-eight cardiovascular events occurred and were confirmed by blinded medical record review. The presence of CAC (a total calcium score of >0) and increasing score quartiles were related to the occurrence of new myocardial infarction (p <0.05), revascularizations (p <0.001), and total cardiovascular events (p <0.001). Those with scores at or above the median (score of 5) had a relative risk of 4.5 (p <0.01) for new events. From Cox regression models, adjusted for age, gender, and coronary risk factors, the relative risks for those with scores of 81 to 270 and -271 (compared with 0) for cardiovascular events were 4.5 (p <0.05) and 8.8 (p <0.001), respectively. These data support previous reports showing CAC to be a modest predictor of future cardiovascular events.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcinosis / complications
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Coronary Disease / complications
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed* / methods