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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2005 Aug;25(8):1723-8. Epub 2005 Jun 9.

Coronary artery calcium outperforms carotid artery intima-media thickness as a noninvasive index of prevalent coronary artery stenosis.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.



Increased carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) and increased coronary artery calcium (CAC) are noninvasive surrogate indices of prevalent coronary artery disease (CAD). We compared CAC to IMT for noninvasive detection of prevalent CAD in participants whose coronary status was identified by coronary angiography.


Male and female CAD patients (> or =50% stenosis in one or more coronary artery, n=79) and controls (no lumen irregularities, n=93) were identified using coronary angiography. Mean maximum carotid IMT was quantified using B-mode ultrasound and total CAC was measured using ECG-gated helical computed tomography (HCT). Carotid IMT was approximately 20% higher in CAD cases compared with controls (P<0.001), whereas mean CAC was 1000% higher in CAD cases than controls (P<0.0001). In multivariable models adjusted for age and sex, IMT greater than the median (1.13 mm) was associated with 2-fold increase in likelihood of prevalent CAD compared with scores below that cut point (P=0.015). CAC scores that exceeded the median score of 92 were associated with 28-fold increase in likelihood of prevalent CAD (P<0.0001). Although associations of increased IMT with prevalent CAD were similar in males and females, CAC scores above the median in females were associated with 39-fold increase in odds of prevalent CAD, whereas males with elevated CAC had 19-fold risk of CAD.


HCT-measured CAC compares favorably with carotid IMT measured by B-mode ultrasound as a noninvasive index of prevalent CAD.

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