Purpose: To assess the variability and reproducibility of a volumetric calcium score calculated with electron-bean computed tomographic (CT) scans of coronary arteries.
Materials and methods: Two sets of electron-beam CT scans were obtained in patients with coronary calcification (group A) or known risk factors for coronary arterial disease (group B). The second set or scans was obtained after a brief interval (group A, n = 52) or after 1 year with no risk modification (group B, n = 27). Traditional (plaque area and attenuation) and volumetric calcium scores were calculated for each patient and lesion.
Results: The median percentage change for individual lesions in group A was 13% for the volumetric and 19% for the traditional score. The overall reduction in error with the volumetric score was 40% (P < .001). The median percentage change for group A patient totals was 9% for the volumetric and 15% for the traditional score (P < .001). In group B patients, the median volumetric score increased by 44% after 1 year.
Conclusion: The volumetric score showed better reproducibility than the traditional score, and its variability was considerably less than the score increase in untreated patients after 1 year. The reproducibility of the volumetric method makes it useful for assessing the progression of coronary arterial disease on serial electron-beam CT studies.