Risk stratification of non-contrast CT beyond the coronary calcium scan

Paul Madaj, Matthew J. Budoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is a well-known marker for coronary artery disease and has important prognostic implications. CAC is able to provide clinicians with a reliable source of information related to cardiovascular atherosclerosis, which carries incremental information beyond Framingham risk. However, non-contrast scans of the heart provide additional information beyond the Agatston score. These studies are also able to measure various sources of fat, including intrathoracic (eg, pericardial or epicardial) and hepatic, both of which are thought to be metabolically active and linked to increased incidence of subclinical atherosclerosis as well as increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Testing for CAC is also useful in identifying extracoronary sources of calcification. Specifically, aortic valve calcification, mitral annular calcification, and thoracic aortic calcium (TAC) provide additional risk stratification information for cardiovascular events. Finally, scanning for CAC is able to evaluate myocardial scaring due to myocardial infarcts, which may also add incremental prognostic information. To ensure the benefits outweigh the risks of a scanning for CAC for an appropriately selected asymptomatic patient, the full utility of the scan should be realized. This review describes the current state of the art interpretation of non-contrast cardiac CT, which clinically should go well beyond coronary artery Agatston scoring alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-307
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CAC
  • Fat
  • Myocardial scarring
  • Radiation
  • Tumors

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