Usefulness of the Agatston Score = 0 to Exclude Ischemic Cardiomyopathy in Patients With Heart Failure

Am J Cardiol. 2011 Feb 1;107(3):428-32. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2010.09.040.


Quantification of coronary artery calcium has prognostic value and is commonly used in asymptomatic patients. Routine clinical use of coronary artery calcium in other populations remains uncertain. We sought to understand the potential application of the Agatston score in patients with heart failure (HF). For this purpose, 3 populations were identified: (1) patients with an Agatston score equal to 0, (2) patients with high-risk coronary artery disease (CAD) defined as 3-vessel, left main, or 2-vessel disease involving the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery, and (3) patients with HF symptoms and left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction <50%. Excluding patients with HF or LV dysfunction, 738 patients (mean age 52 ± 10 years, 43% men) had an Agatston score equal to 0. Of these, 18 (2%) had obstructive CAD (diameter stenosis ≥50%), 8 (1%) had diameter stenoses ≥70%, and none had high-risk CAD. The 74 patients with high-risk CAD without LV dysfunction had high Agatston scores (mean 895 ± 734, median 716, range 50 to 3,210). In total 153 patients with a history of HF and abnormal ejection fraction were identified. All 13 patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy had Agatston scores >0, whereas 46 of 140 patients (30.1%) with nonischemic causes had an Agatston score equal to 0. An Agatston score equal to 0 identified nonischemic causes with a specificity of 100% (confidence interval 90 to 100) and positive predictive value of 100% (confidence interval 90 to 100). Agatston score equal to 0 had incremental value to pretest probability for CAD. In conclusion, an Agatston score equal to 0 confers a very low likelihood of obstructive CAD, appears to rule out high-risk CAD, and thus may be used to rule out ischemic cardiomyopathy in patients with HF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcinosis / diagnosis
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cardiomyopathies / diagnosis*
  • Coronary Vessels / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / complications
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Dysfunction / complications


  • Calcium