Aortic valve calcium (AVC) can be quantified on the same computed tomographic scan as coronary artery calcium (CAC). Although CAC is an established predictor of cardiovascular events, limited evidence is available for an independent predictive value for AVC. We studied a cohort of 8,401 asymptomatic subjects (mean age 53 ± 10 years, 69% men), who were free of known coronary heart disease and were undergoing electron beam computed tomography for assessment of subclinical atherosclerosis. The patients were followed for a median of 5 years (range 1 to 7) for the occurrence of mortality from any cause. Multivariate Cox regression models were developed to predict all-cause mortality according to the presence of AVC. A total of 517 patients (6%) had AVC on electron beam computed tomography. During follow-up, 124 patients died (1.5%), for an overall survival rate of 96.1% and 98.7% for those with and without AVC, respectively (hazard ratio 3.39, 95% confidence interval 2.09 to 5.49). After adjustment for age, gender, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, smoking, and a family history of premature coronary heart disease, AVC remained a significant predictor of mortality (hazard ratio 1.82, 95% confidence interval 1.11 to 2.98). Likelihood ratio chi-square statistics demonstrated that the addition of AVC contributed significantly to the prediction of mortality in a model adjusted for traditional risk factors (chi-square = 5.03, p = 0.03) as well as traditional risk factors plus the presence of CAC (chi-square = 3.58, p = 0.05). In conclusion, AVC was associated with increased all-cause mortality, independent of the traditional risk factors and the presence of CAC.
Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier Inc.