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Coronary artery calcium score: pivotal role as a predictor for detecting coronary artery disease in symptomatic patients.


Chest pain and dyspnea are common presentations for symptomatic individuals with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD) in the primary care office and cardiology clinics. However, it is imperative to properly diagnose who should undergo further evaluation for cardiac etiologies of chest pain, with either noninvasive or invasive imaging tests. The purpose of this review is to highlight the role of coronary artery calcium (CAC) score as a screening tool for symptomatic patients to detect CAD. The purpose of CAC scoring is to establish the presence and severity of coronary atherosclerosis that can play a vital role in symptomatic patients. The use of CAC testing in symptomatic patients has traditionally been limited due to fundamental concerns, including the occurrence of coronary calcification relatively late in the atherosclerotic process and high prevalence of CAC in the population. Further issue relates to its low specificity for obstructive CAD, as well as demonstration of significant ethnic variability in plaque composition and calcification patterns. CAC testing gained attention as an inexpensive, rapid, reproducible and a well-tolerated alternative to exclude CAD in symptomatic patients and defer further invasive imaging tests. This article will review the available literature in regard to the use of CAC in symptomatic populations.

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