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Acad Radiol. 2005 Mar;12(3):298-304.

Association between progression of aortic valve calcification and coronary calcification: assessment by electron beam tomography.

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Division of Cardiology, Harbor-UCLA Research and Education Institute, 1124 W. Carson Street, RB2, Torrance, CA 90502.



It has been demonstrated that aortic valve calcification (AVC) shares many similarities with coronary atherosclerosis, including risk factors and pathologic characteristics. We sought to examine the relationship of AVC to coronary artery calcification (CC), to assess whether similar risk factors affect the process in a similar way.


The study included 620 asymptomatic persons (513 men and 107 women, mean age 59 years range [30-82]) who underwent two consecutive electron beam tomography (EBT) scans at least 1 year apart (mean 3.3 years). Calcification scores were obtained by summation of Agatston and volumetric scores. Stabilization of calcium was defined as no increase in score per year or positive percent change in score </=1%/year. Progression was defined as a positive percent change in score >1%/year. Of 106 with AVC, 105 (99%) had CC. Sixty-five patients had an AVC >10 on initial scan, and 50 (77%) demonstrated progression on the follow-up scan. Of 394 participants with CC >10 on initial scan, follow-up scans showed CC stabilization in 64 (16.2%) and CC progression in 330 (83.8%). Patients with AVC were significantly older than those with only CC (64.5 versus 56.5 years, P < .0001). The average age of the patient with AVC was 7 years older than the average age with CC. AVC (by volumetric score) progressed more rapidly in patients with diabetes (P = .036) and smoking (P = .042) than those without.


We found no difference in the degree of change in the CC scores (by Agatston or volumetric methods) over time between men and women, or in any baseline cardiac risk factor (P > .05 for all measures). In 65 patients with both AVC and CC >10, there was a significant association between progression of AVC and CC (P = .047); the absolute rate of change of AVC was 24.5 +/- 43.2 %/year, and CC was 28.0 +/- 49.1 %/year.


Virtually all patients with AVC had CC, potentially explaining the coronary risk associated with AVC. There is substantially parallel development between rates of progression of EBT-assessed AVC and CC.

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