Age and gender distributions of coronary artery calcium detected by electron beam tomography in 35,246 adults

Am J Cardiol. 2001 Jun 15;87(12):1335-9. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(01)01548-x.


Electron beam tomography (EBT) is a noninvasive method used to detect coronary artery calcium (CAC). Due to the age-associated increase in incidence and magnitude of CAC, interpretation of results can be difficult. The purpose of this study was to develop a set of age- and gender-stratified CAC distributions to serve as standards for the clinical interpretation of EBT scans. Between 1993 and 1999, 35,246 asymptomatic subjects, 30 to 90 years of age, were self-referred for CAC screening using an Imatron EBT scanner. CAC score was calculated based on the number, areas, and peak computed tomographic density for each detected calcific lesion. CAC score in each coronary artery was equal to the sum of all lesions for that artery and the total CAC score was equal to the sum of the score of each artery. Total CAC scores were assigned to a percentile according to age and gender. CAC scores were reported at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles for 16 age and/or gender groups. The prevalence of CAC increased with age for men and women. The extent of CAC differed significantly between men and women in the same age group. In summary, this study reports the distribution of CAC score by age and gender. Knowledge of the distribution of CAC, the effect of age on the total CAC score as well as the differences in total CAC scores that exist between men and women of similar age will assist the clinician in interpreting EBT CAC results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Angiography*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*