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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2003 Mar 19;41(6):1008-12.

The prevalence of coronary artery calcium among diabetic individuals without known coronary artery disease.

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Department of Medicine, Section of Cardiology, University of Illinois College of Medicine, 840 S. Wood Street (m/c 715), Chicago, IL 60612, USA.



We sought to examine the age and gender distribution of coronary artery calcium (CAC) by diabetes status in a large cohort of asymptomatic individuals.


Among individuals with diabetes, coronary artery disease (CAD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Electron-beam tomography (EBT) quantifies CAC, a marker for atherosclerosis.


Screening for CAC by EBT was performed in 30,904 asymptomatic individuals stratified by their self-reported diabetes status, gender, and age. The distribution of CAC across the strata and the association between diabetes and CAC were examined.


Compared with nondiabetic individuals (n = 29,829), those with diabetes (n = 1,075) had higher median CAC scores across all but two age groups (women 40 to 44 years old and men and women > or =70 years old). Overall, the likelihood of having a CAC score in the highest age/gender quartile was 70% greater for diabetic individuals than for their nondiabetic counterparts.


Younger diabetic individuals appear to have calcified plaque burden comparable to that of older individuals without diabetes. These findings call for future research to determine if EBT-CAC screening has an incremental value over the current CAD risk assessment of individuals with diabetes.

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