Coronary artery calcium quantification at multi-detector row helical CT versus electron-beam CT

Radiology. 2004 Feb;230(2):397-402. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2302020901.


Purpose: To compare coronary artery calcium scores from a multi-detector row helical computed tomographic (CT) scanner with those from an electron-beam CT scanner, with emphasis on subjects with calcium scores less than 400.

Materials and methods: Seventy-eight asymptomatic subjects (37 women, 41 men; age range, 39-78 years; mean age, 54.2 years) underwent multi-detector row CT and electron-beam CT. Volume and Agatston scores were calculated with a workstation. Statistical analyses included assessment of association between calcium scores from two scanners, calculation of percent absolute difference to assess score variability between scanners, equivalence analysis, construction of Bland-Altman plots to assess agreement between scores, and assessment of changes in score grouping and risk criteria based on score differences between scanners.

Results: Electron-beam CT calcium scores were higher than multi-detector row CT scores. Linear association between calcium scores obtained from paired scans was significant (r = 0.96-0.99, P <.001). Mean percent absolute differences were 67.9% and 65.0% for volume and Agatston scores, respectively (48.6% and 46.3% for corresponding natural log-transformed scores). In subjects with a score of 11 or greater, mean percent absolute differences between electron-beam CT and multi-detector row CT scores ranged from 15% to 30% (<10% for natural log-transformed calcium scores). With a 20% equivalence limit, calcium scores from the two scanners were statistically equivalent (P <.05). Score grouping would have been subject to change in 12 (11 increased and one decreased; six with scores of 11 or greater), and possible risk management decisions would have been subject to change in eight (16%) of 51 subjects who underwent electron-beam CT versus multi-detector row CT scanning.

Conclusion: Multi-detector row CT appears to be comparable to electron-beam CT for coronary calcification screening, except in subjects with a calcium score less than 11.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Coronary Angiography*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Mathematical Computing
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tomography, Spiral Computed*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Calcium