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Risk factor correlates of coronary calcium as evaluated by ultrafast computed tomography


Coronary artery calcium is invariably associated with atherosclerosis and has been linked to an increased risk of coronary events. Ultrafast computed tomography (CT) was recently used to document the presence and relative quantity of coronary calcium. The use of the self-reported coronary risk factors to identify persons with coronary calcium as documented by ultrafast CT screening was examined in 458 men and 139 women aged 26 to 81 years (88% asymptomatic). All subjects underwent ultrafast CT scanning, and received a questionnaire and underwent an interview regarding medical and risk factor history. Total calcium score was calculated as the sum of lesion-specific scores, each calculated as the product of density > or = 130 Hounsfield units and area > or = 0.51 mm2. The prevalence of coronary calcium increased significantly (p < 0.01) by age group, and the greater the number of risk factors present, the greater the likelihood of calcium. From multiple logistic regression, age (p < 0.01), male sex (relative risk [RR] 3.03; p < 0.01), and history of smoking (RR 1.85; p < 0.01) and hypertension (RR 1.65; p < 0.05) were independently associated with the probability of detectable calcium. Among asymptomatic subjects, an association with hypercholesterolemia was also seen (RR 1.56; p < 0.05). The results demonstrate that cardiovascular risk factors can help in identifying the likelihood of coronary calcium.

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