Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the prognostic accuracy of electron beam computed tomographic (CT) scanning of the coronary arteries and the relationship of coronary calcification to standard coronary disease risk factors and C-reactive protein (CRP) in the prediction of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) events in apparently healthy middle-age persons.
Background: As a screening test for coronary artery disease (CAD), electron beam CT scanning remains controversial.
Methods: In a prospective, population-based study, 4,903 asymptomatic persons age 50 to 70 years underwent electron beam CT scanning of the coronary arteries.
Results: At 4.3 years, follow-up was available in 4,613 participants (94%), and 119 had sustained at least one ASCVD event. Subjects with ASCVD events had higher baseline coronary calcium scores (median [interquartile range], Agatston method) than those without events: 384 (127, 800) versus 10 (0, 86) (p < 0.0001). For coronary calcium score threshold > or = 100 versus < 100, relative risk (95% confidence interval) was 9.6 (6.7 to 13.9) for all ASCVD events, 11.1 (7.3 to 16.7) for all CAD events, and 9.2 (4.9 to 17.3) for non-fatal myocardial infarction and death. The coronary calcium score predicted CAD events independently of standard risk factors and CRP (p = 0.004), was superior to the Framingham risk index in the prediction of events (area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve of 0.79 +/- 0.03 vs. 0.69 +/- 0.03, p = 0.0006), and enhanced stratification of those falling into the Framingham categories of low, intermediate, and high risk (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: The electron beam CT coronary calcium score predicts CAD events independent of standard risk factors, more accurately than standard risk factors and CRP, and refines Framingham risk stratification.