Aim: Incidental aortic valve calcification is often detected during computed tomography. The aim was to compare the severity of valvular stenosis and calcification in patients with aortic stenosis.
Materials and methods: One hundred and fifty-seven patients aged 68+/-11 years (range: 34-85) with aortic valve stenosis underwent multislice helical computed tomography and Doppler echocardiography performed by independent, blinded observers. The aortic valve calcium score was determined using automated computer software calibrated with a phantom.
Results: Doppler echocardiography demonstrated a post-valve velocity of 3.45+/-0.66 m/s and a peak gradient of 49+/-11 mmHg. Computed tomography showed excellent reproducibility and the median aortic valve calcium score was 5858 AU (interquartile range, 1555-14,596). The computed tomography aortic valve calcium score positively correlated with the Doppler post-valve velocity and peak gradient (r=0.54, p<0.0001 for both) of the aortic valve. All patients with severe aortic stenosis had a calcium score of >3700 AU.
Conclusion: Calcification of the aortic valve is closely associated with the severity of aortic stenosis, and heavy calcification suggests the presence of severe aortic stenosis that requires urgent cardiological assessment. Patients with lesser degrees of aortic valve calcification should be screened for aortic stenosis and monitored for disease progression.