Coronary artery disease: improved reproducibility of calcium scoring with an electron-beam CT volumetric method

Radiology. 1998 Sep;208(3):807-14. doi: 10.1148/radiology.208.3.9722864.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Calcium / analysis*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Vessels / chemistry
  • Electrocardiography / instrumentation*
  • Electron Probe Microanalysis / instrumentation
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / instrumentation*


  • Calcium