Purpose: Breast arterial calcifications (BAC) identified on routine mammography have been associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors including diabetes and hypertension, angiographically defined CHD, and increased cardiovascular mortality. Accumulating evidence suggests that the mammogram may be an important tool to identify women at risk for CHD, however, the epidemiology of BAC has been poorly defined and previous studies limited to white populations.
Methods: The mammograms of 1905 consecutive women (51.2% Hispanic, 25.8% white, 15.3% black, 5.4% other, 2.2% Asian, ages 35-92 years) were evaluated for the presence of BAC and the number of calcified arteries.
Results: The overall prevalence of BAC was 29.4% and was significantly higher for Hispanics compared with whites (34.5% vs. 24.0%, p=0.0002) and lower for Asians compared with whites (7.1% vs. 24.0%, p < 0.02). Among BAC-positive women aged 65 years or less, blacks had more calcified arteries than whites (p < 0.01). The presence of BAC increased with age (p for trend < 0.0001). In age-adjusted models, older Hispanics were more likely to be BAC-positive than whites of similar age (p < 0.02).
Conclusion: These results indicate that BAC varies significantly by age and race/ethnicity. These findings should be taken into consideration when designing future studies of BAC and CHD.