Background and aim of the study: Calcific aortic stenosis is common in the elderly; indeed, 30-60% of patients with mild 'senile' aortic stenosis will progress to severe obstruction. Nonetheless, predictors of progression are incompletely defined, and non-invasive technologies capable of quantifying aortic valve calcium are needed. The reliability of electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) was evaluated for quantification of aortic valve calcium content.
Methods: Nineteen patients with and without restrictive valve calcification underwent EBCT scanning. Separate calcium scores, 30 s apart, were obtained in all patients, and the Spearman correlation coefficient was calculated between measurements. The relationship between dichotomized mean calcium score and aortic valve area was also investigated.
Results: There was excellent correlation between calcium scores (R = 0.99, p = 0.0001), as well as a significant inverse relationship between calcium scores in the upper and lower ranges and aortic valve area (p = 0.002).
Conclusion: EBCT can be used for reproducible quantitation of aortic valve calcification. While at their extremes, calcium scores are inversely related to aortic valve area, further evaluation is needed to define the precise nature of this relationship throughout the spectrum of stenosis severity. EBCT holds promise in the longitudinal assessment of valvular calcification progression and its response to potential medical therapies.