News | June 09, 2008

Coronary Calcium Distribution Tied to Heart Attack Risk

June 10, 2008 – A new calcium scoring method, which takes into account not only the amount of calcified plaque build-up in the coronary arteries but also its distribution, may better predict a person’s risk of heart attack, according to a new multicenter study published in the June issue of the journal Radiology.

“Now we know that the location of the calcium in the arteries is particularly important in estimating a patient’s potential risk,” said the study’s lead author, Elizabeth Brown, Sc.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Each year, 700,000 Americans die of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common form of heart disease in the U.S. is coronary artery disease, which is caused by a build-up of calcific plaque in the coronary arteries leading to the heart. The current standard of coronary calcium measurement gauges only the amount of calcium present in the arteries, not its spatial distribution.

“Currently, physicians only see the result in terms of an overall score designed to measure the amount of calcified plaque,” Dr. Brown said. “This new approach will provide physicians with a measure of the proportion of the arteries affected.”

The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) began in July 2000. The prospective study included 6,814 men and women between the ages of 45 and 84. The researchers compared CT image data for 3,252 participants with calcific plaque to data collected from 3,416 patients without calcific plaque. (Due to lack of sufficient CT image data, 146 additional MESA participants were excluded from this analysis.) A calcium coverage score was developed to estimate the percentage of coronary arteries affected by plaque.

The patients were then followed up for a median period of 41 months to determine if there was a relationship between the distribution of calcium shown in the CT images and the likelihood heart attack or other cardiac event.

The results showed that diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia (abnormal concentrations of lipids [fats] or lipoproteins in the blood) were highly associated with calcium coverage score. The study also found that the calcium coverage score—which takes into account the location of the calcium—was a better predictor of future cardiac events than currently used measures that gauge only the amount of calcium present. On average, compared to patients without diabetes, patients with diabetes had 44 percent more of their coronary arteries affected by plaque. A twofold increase in calcium coverage score indicated a 34 percent increase in risk of heart attack or other serious cardiac event and a 52 percent increase in the risk of any cardiac event.

“Calcium coverage scoring has the potential to improve our estimate of a patient’s risk for adverse clinical outcomes, such as heart attacks or death,” Dr. Brown said.

Source: The Radiological Society of North America, Inc.

For more information: RSNA.org/radiologyjnl

Related Content

Videos | Cardiac Imaging | September 10, 2018
Leslee Shaw, Ph.D., professor of cardiology and rad
Arterys collaborated with GE Healthcare to create the ViosWorks software to cardiac MRI analysis.

Arterys collaborated with GE Healthcare to create the ViosWorks software. The software integrates artificial intelligence to speed workflow and perform a full 3-D chest volume scan with myocardium motion, blood flow, time and fully automated quantification.

Feature | Cardiac Imaging | March 30, 2018 | Jeff Zagoudis
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for cardiac assessment provides a radiation-free alternative to other commonly used
New Policy Decisions Give Millions Access to HeartFlow FFRct Analysis
News | Cardiac Imaging | February 01, 2018
February 1, 2018 – HeartFlow announced that seven new commercial payers issued positive medical policies covering the
Clear detail of the in-stent restenosis can be seen in this image from the new high-resolution Canon Precision CT system. RSNA 2017, #RSNA2017, #RSNA17

Clear detail of the in-stent restenosis can be seen in this image from the new high-resolution Canon Aquilion Precision CT system.

Feature | Cardiac Imaging | January 23, 2018 | Dave Fornell
Medical imaging plays a key role in cardiology, and most of the newest radiology technology advances are first unveil
Philips Introduces Technology Maximizer Program for Imaging Equipment Upgrades
Technology | Cardiac Imaging | January 17, 2018
Philips recently announced the launch of Technology Maximizer, a cross-modality program designed to boost the clinical...
Videos | Cardiac Imaging | December 29, 2017
ITN and DAIC Editor Dave Fornell takes a tour of some of the most interesting new medical imaging technologies on the
Siemens Healthineers Introduces Share360 Tailored Service Portfolio
News | Cardiac Imaging | November 10, 2017
To address the specific needs of medical imaging clinical engineering departments nationwide, Siemens Healthineers has...
HeartFlow's FFR-CT (FFRct) analysis software can create a virtual FFR to assess coronary artery disease.

HeartFlow's FFR-CT analysis software uses a computed tomography scan and supercomputing fluid dynamics software to create a noninvasive, virtual FFR map of the entire coronary artery tree to determine the flow-limiting severity of ant lesions. 

News | Cardiac Imaging | November 06, 2017
November 6, 2017 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized a New Technology Ambulatory P
Philips Announces Findings of Patient Experience in Imaging Research
News | Cardiac Imaging | October 24, 2017
Philips recently announced the key findings of its research focused on the patient experience in diagnostic imaging...
Overlay Init