Objectives: We sought to determine the prognostic accuracy of electron beam computed tomographic (EBCT) scanning of the coronary arteries at three to four years.
Background: Coronary artery calcium scores determined by EBCT correlate with the severity of coronary artery disease. However, previous reports of the prognostic accuracy of EBCT scanning for coronary events in asymptomatic individuals are conflicting.
Methods: Asymptomatic men and women undergoing coronary EBCT completed initial and follow-up evaluations, which included past medical history, the Rose angina questionnaire and interim cardiovascular events. Reported coronary events (death, nonfatal myocardial infarction [MI] and revascularization procedures) were confirmed without knowledge of the scan results.
Results: Information was obtained in 1,172 (99.6%) of 1,177 eligible subjects (baseline age 53 +/- 11 years, 71% men). During an average follow-up of 3.6 years, 39 subjects sustained coronary events: three coronary deaths, 15 nonfatal MIs and 21 coronary artery revascularization procedures. The mean coronary artery calcium score was 764 +/- 935 among subjects with events as compared with 135 +/- 432 among those without events (p < 0.0001). For the prediction of all coronary events and of nonfatal MIs and deaths, the areas under the receiver-operator characteristics curve were 0.84 and 0.86, respectively, and a coronary calcium score > or =160 was associated with odds ratios of 15.8 and 22.2, respectively. The odds ratios for all events remained high (14.3 to 20.2) after adjustment for self-reported cardiovascular risk factors.
Conclusions: In asymptomatic adults, EBCT of the coronary arteries predicts coronary death and nonfatal MI and the need for revascularization procedures.