Relation of Thoracic Aortic and Coronary Artery Calcium to Cardiovascular Risk Factors (from The Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health [ELSA-Brazil])

Am J Cardiol. 2019 Dec 1;124(11):1655-1661. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2019.08.029. Epub 2019 Sep 6.


Thoracic aortic calcium (TAC) and coronary artery calcium (CAC) are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death. However, risk factors associated with arterial calcium may vary across vascular beds. We verified whether TAC is associated with the same risk factors as is CAC in adults without established CVD. Cross-sectional analysis including 2,433 participants (aged 38 to 78 years) of ELSA-Brasil cohort in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Nonenhanced ECG-gated multislice computed tomography were performed to detect calcium in the thoracic aorta and the coronaries (2015 to 2016). Multivariate logistic regression evaluated the associations of both TAC and CAC with CVD risk factors (smoking, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol intake, family history of CVD, low-density lipoprotein- and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, HbA1c, blood pressure, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, and lipid lowering medications). Overall prevalence of TAC and CAC were 69% and 43%, respectively. CAC prevalence was lower among women (31%) than men (56%) (Adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.30; 0.24 to 0.38). After adjustments, black individuals were less likely to have any CAC as compared with whites (OR 0.63; 0.47 to 0.86). Neither sex, nor race/skin color were statistically associated with TAC. Use of antidiabetic medications remained associated with CAC (OR 1.80; 1.23 to 2.631.01), but not with TAC. All other risk factors, except education, alcohol, physical activity and HbA1c, persisted statistically associated with both TAC and CAC in the final analysis, with small differences in the magnitudes of the ORs. In conclusion, the only disagreements seen in the risk factors associated with CAC and TAC were sex, race/skin color, and use of antidiabetic medications.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aorta, Thoracic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aortic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Aortic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Aortography
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Coronary Angiography / methods
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Multidetector Computed Tomography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Vascular Calcification / diagnosis
  • Vascular Calcification / epidemiology*


  • Calcium