Image courtesy of Philips Healthcare
June 24, 2022 — The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) reports that Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) scoring with use of noncontrast electrocardiographically gated Computed Tomography (CT) is a fast, inexpensive and reproducible examination that effectively-predicts risk for development of cardiovascular diseases and guides preventive therapy in asymptomatic individuals.
In a paper published in the June issue of Radiographics, “Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring: Current Status and Future Directions,” Amit Gupta, MD and colleagues give a comprehensive overview of CAC scoring, including benefits like its ability to yield powerful prognostic data while involving a low radiation dose.
SCCT Education Committee member Sumit Gupta, MBBS, PhD, says the review by Gupta and colleagues provides an algorithmic approach for interpretation of CAC scoring scans and is an invaluable reference of cardiac imagers.
“CAC scoring is extremely useful for early detection and prevention of adverse cardiovascular events, as a decision-aiding tool for initiation of preventative therapy, and as a negative risk factor for excluding cardiovascular risk.”
In his invited commentary, Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring—Simple Tool, Big Impact, Gupta explains that the importance of CAC in predicting the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) is undeniable, with a 10-fold higher risk in patients who have a CAC score higher than 300 compared with the risk for those without CAC.
CAC scores also provide an increased rate of initiation or continuation of lipid-lowering therapies, aspirin, and positive lifestyle changes in patients.
An important use of the calcium score is also its role as a negative risk factor that can help exclude risk in patients when CAC is absent. A CAC score of 0 outperformed numerous other negative risk markers in downward risk reclassification.
According to the Radiology reviews, the future of CAC scoring is promising and may include use of techniques that potentially improve the existing CAC scores as well as advanced artificial intelligence for opportunistic detection of calcified coronary atherosclerosis on CT scans acquired for other purposes.
For more information: www.scct.org
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