Neutralizing the adverse prognosis of coronary artery calcium

Mayo Clin Proc. 2013 Aug;88(8):806-12. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2013.05.019.


Objectives: To report and compare the outcomes and survival of patients with abnormal computed tomography-derived coronary artery calcium (CT-CAC) scores undergoing aggressive medical treatment at a cardiac prevention clinic.

Patients and methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 849 patients with intermediate risk based on the Framingham risk score and an abnormal CT-CAC score who were aggressively treated in a preventive cardiology risk factor modification program from June 23, 2000, to September 1, 2012. The primary outcome was a composite end point of myocardial infarction, resuscitated cardiac arrest, revascularization, and cardiovascular death. The effect of the CT-CAC subgroup on major adverse coronary heart disease events (MACEs) was evaluated by calculating hazard ratios with Cox proportional hazards regression modeling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wonder database was used to identify age- and sex-matched controls from the general population of Kansas and Missouri.

Results: The mean age of the study patients was 65.4 years (58.4% men [496]). The median follow-up was 58 months, and the mean CT-CAC score was 336 Agatston units. Thirty-four patients (4.0%) reached the primary end point, including 4 deaths. The adjusted 10-year mortality rates were similar in the study group and control group (9.3 vs 10.6; P=.80). After adjustment, a CT-CAC score greater than 400 Agatston units correlated with a higher risk of MACEs (hazard ratio, 3.55; P=.01).

Conclusion: These results suggest that intermediate-risk patients with abnormal CT-CAC scores when treated with intensive risk factor reduction have lower rates of MACEs than predicted by the Framingham risk score and the presence of coronary artery calcium.

Keywords: CHD; CT-CAC; CWC; Cardio Wellness Clinic; DM; FRS; Framingham risk score; HDL-C; HR; LDL-C; MACE; SHAPE; Screening for Heart Attack Prevention and Education; computed tomography–derived coronary artery calcium; coronary heart disease; diabetes mellitus; hazard ratio; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; major adverse CHD event.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cardiac Imaging Techniques / methods
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / diagnosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / etiology
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / mortality
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / therapy
  • Coronary Vessels / metabolism
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Prognosis
  • Program Evaluation / statistics & numerical data
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention* / methods
  • Secondary Prevention* / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vascular Calcification* / complications
  • Vascular Calcification* / diagnosis
  • Vascular Calcification* / epidemiology


  • Calcium