Usefulness of electron beam tomography to detect progression of coronary and aortic calcium in middle-aged women

Am J Cardiol. 2001 Mar 1;87(5):560-4. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(00)01431-4.


Electron beam tomography (EBT) permits the noninvasive quantification of coronary and aortic calcium as a marker of atherosclerosis. Coronary and aortic calcium are strongly related to premenopausal cardiovascular risk factors in middle-aged women. This report evaluates changes in coronary and aortic calcium over an average of 18 months in 80 women. Measurement variation over time and between readings is also evaluated in these women who were followed through the menopausal transition. Eight years after menopause, 80 women (average age 63 years) underwent serial EBT of the coronary arteries and aorta separated by 18 months. Calcium scores were based on the number and density of calcific deposits. Duplicate readings were obtained to evaluate the effect of reading variation on calcium scores. At baseline, the median calcium score was 0 in the coronary arteries and 58 in the aorta. Average change in coronary (+11) and aortic (+112) calcium were significantly different from zero (p < 0.001). Reading variability did not contribute significantly to the variation in calcium scores. Extent of calcium in the coronary arteries was associated with progression of calcium in the aorta (p = 0.013). Both coronary and aortic calcium were significantly associated with premenopausal cardiovascular risk factors. Thus, progression of coronary and aortic calcium using EBT can be observed over a short time in healthy middle- aged women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arteriosclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*