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Atherosclerosis. 2002 Mar;161(1):193-7.

Nonobstructive aortic valve calcification: a window to significant coronary artery disease.

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  • 1The Scheingarten Echocardiography Unit, Department of Cardiology, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Campus, 49100 Petah Tiqua, Israel.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Aortic valve calcification without obstruction (AVC) is common in the elderly and is associated with increased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. We hypothesized that AVC detected by transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is a marker for significant coronary artery disease in patients undergoing coronary angiography.

METHODS:

The study group included 388 patients with AVC (259 males, 129 females; mean age 72.2+/-9 years) who underwent coronary angiography for various indications. Data were compared with 320, age- and sex-matched patients without AVC who underwent coronary angiography for the same indications. AVC was detected in TTE as focal areas of increased echogenicity and thickening of the aortic-valve leaflets without restriction in motion. Significant obstructive coronary artery disease was defined as either a > or = 70% reduction of the internal diameter of the left anterior descending, right coronary, or left circumflex artery distribution or a > or = 50% reduction of the internal diameter of the left main coronary artery. Risk factors for atherosclerosis including hypertension, smoking, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes were also investigated.

RESULTS:

Compared with control group, the AVC group had a higher prevalence of significant coronary artery disease (90 vs. 85%, P=0.019), and a trend for lower frequency of coronary arteries without obstruction (6 vs. 9%, P=0.l1); a trend was also noted for 3-vessel disease (38 vs. 33%, P=0.14). Multivariate analysis identified age (P=0.000l), sex (P=0.000l), hypercholesterolemia (P=0.005) and AVC (P=0.02) as independent predictors for significant coronary artery disease.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is a significant association between AVC and significant coronary artery disease in patients undergoing coronary angiography. Thus AVC can serve as a window to atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries. These results reinforce a previous observation regarding association between AVC and increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity.

PMID:
11882332
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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