Relationship between the arterial calcification detected in mammography and coronary artery disease

Eur J Radiol. 2007 Sep;63(3):391-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2007.01.035. Epub 2007 Mar 6.


Objective: Arterial calcification is frequently encountered in mammography. The frequency of breast arterial calcification (BAC) increases with increasing age. Studies have shown that BAC is seen more frequently among the people who are under the risk of coronary artery diseases (CAD) such as diabetes and hypertension. The objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between the arterial calcification detected in mammography and the CAD.

Material and methods: Screening mammography was performed in 123 women above the age of 40 years who had been examined with coronary angiography for the evaluation of CAD. The presence of BAC, number of affected vessels, and the distribution of calcification in the vessel wall were evaluated in the mammography. Subjects were questioned in terms of the cardiovasculary risk factors. The severity of CAD was evaluated according to the Gensini scoring. In addition, the number of blood vessels with stenosis of more than 50% was used as the vascular score. The correlation between Gensini and the vascular scores, and BAC was statistically evaluated using Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis tests.

Results: Eighty (65%) of 123 patients had CAD. BAC was detected in the mammography of 49 (39.8%) subjects. The ages and duration of menopause of the cases with BAC were significantly higher than those without BAC (p<0.001). There was an almost significant correlation between the BAC and Gensini scores (p=0.059). There was a significant increase in the frequency of BAC among subjects with more than two vessels with stenosis (p=0.033).

Conclusion: Frequency of BAC increases with increasing age. BAC is also frequently seen in subjects having severe coronary artery disease. Although increasing age may be a factor increasing the frequency of BAC, BAC may also be an indicator of CAD. Therefore, the mentioning of arterial calcification in mammography reports may be important in warning the clinician in terms of CAD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast / blood supply*
  • Breast Diseases / complications
  • Breast Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Calcinosis / complications
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Disease / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography*
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric