Utility of Coronary Calcium Scoring (CCS) in Connective Tissue Disorders (CTDs) for the Evaluation of Subclinical Coronary Atherosclerosis - A Systematic Review

ACR Open Rheumatol. 2020 Feb;2(2):84-91. doi: 10.1002/acr2.11107. Epub 2020 Jan 6.


Objective: To assess the current state of knowledge for the utility of coronary calcium scoring (CCS) in connective tissue disorders (CTDs) as it relates to the presence and quantification of coronary atherosclerosis.

Methods: Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, a literature search via PubMed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science Core Collection, CINAHL, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Review retrieved 1019 studies (since database inception on May 7, 2018) from which 121 manuscripts were eligible for review. Inclusion criteria consisted of studies that investigated CCS in adults with respective CTDs. Studies were excluded if a complete manuscript was not written in English or was a case report.

Results: Thirty-one studies were included (27 with healthy age-/gender-matched control group for comparison and 4 without). CTDs analyzed in articles with control group: 11 rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 14 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), 4 systemic sclerosis (SSc), 1 idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM), 1 Takayasu arteritis, and 1 psoriasis. Nine out of 11 RA studies, 12 out of 14 SLE studies, and 2 out of 4 SSc studies showed statistically significant increased CCS when compared with the control group. CTDs analyzed in studies without control group: two Kawasaki disease, one juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), and one antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) article, which demonstrated increased coronary arterial calcium burden, however, without statistically significant data.

Conclusion: CTDs, especially SLE and RA, are associated with higher CCS compared with the control group, indicating increased risk of coronary atherosclerosis. Our search did not elicit sufficient publications or statistically significant results in many other CTDs.