Risk factors for coronary, aortic arch and carotid calcification; The Rotterdam Study

J Hum Hypertens. 2010 Feb;24(2):86-92. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2009.42. Epub 2009 Jun 4.


This study was performed to examine the association of cardiovascular risk factors with calcification in the coronary arteries, aortic arch and carotid arteries, assessed by multislice computed tomography (MSCT). This study was embedded in the Rotterdam Study, a population-based study in subjects aged 55 years and over. From October 2003 until December 2004, subjects were invited to undergo a MSCT scan. Coronary, aortic arch and carotid calcification were quantified according to the Agatston score. Analyses were performed in the first 1003 subjects. Age and current smoking were the strongest independent risk factors for arterial calcification. The odds ratio (OR) for age in women, irrespective of the vessel bed, was 1.1 (P<0.001) and in men it was 1.2 with aortic arch and 1.1 with carotid calcification (both P<0.001). Current smoking was associated with aortic arch calcification with an OR of 3.5 in women and of 4.7 in men (both P<0.001); and with carotid calcification with an OR of 2.1 in women (P<0.05) and of 4.1 in men (P<0.01). Hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes were also independently related to calcification, although not consistent across all vessel beds and for men and women. Obesity tended to be inversely related to arterial calcification in women, whereas low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol showed no relation with arterial calcification. In conclusion, although associations were not completely consistent across the different vessel beds and for men and women, our results indicate that generally the same risk factors are present for atherosclerosis in the coronary, aortic arch and carotid circulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aorta, Thoracic* / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Aortic Diseases / etiology*
  • Aortography / methods
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Calcinosis / epidemiology
  • Calcinosis / etiology*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / epidemiology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / etiology*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / etiology*
  • Diabetes Complications / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Obesity / complications
  • Odds Ratio
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed