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Am J Cardiol. 2008 Aug 1;102(3):316-20. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2008.03.058. Epub 2008 May 14.

Association of coronary atherosclerosis detected by multislice computed tomography and traditional risk-factor assessment.

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Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Cardiovascular Imaging Laboratory, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Framingham risk score is an office-based tool used for long-term coronary heart disease risk stratification. Most acute coronary events occur in association with proximal nonobstructive atherosclerotic plaque. Multislice computed tomography detects both obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) and proximal atherosclerotic plaque with high accuracy. The association of Framingham risk score with obstructive CAD and proximal atherosclerotic plaque was tested. Coronary multislice computed tomography was performed in 295 patients (61% men, mean age 54 +/- 13 years) without documented CAD referred for evaluation of cardiac symptoms. Framingham risk score was computed and patients were stratified according to 10-year risk (n = 213 [72%] low, n = 74 [25%] intermediate, and n = 8 [3%] high). Obstructive CAD was defined as > or =50% stenosis in > or =1 epicardial coronary artery. Proximal atherosclerotic plaque was defined as calcified or noncalcified plaque in the left main or proximal left anterior descending artery. In the low- and intermediate-Framingham risk score groups, there was a high frequency of proximal atherosclerotic plaque (44% and 75%) and obstructive CAD (16% and 34%), although both findings were more prevalent in the high-Framingham risk score group (63% for atherosclerotic plaque, 88% for obstructive CAD), respectively. Proximal atherosclerotic plaque was noncalcified in approximately 13 of patients. In women (n = 114) and younger (<55 years) patients (n = 148), most (93% and 91%, respectively) had a low Framingham risk score. There were 48 women and 51 younger patients with proximal atherosclerotic plaque, of whom only 40% (in each group) were on statin therapy. In conclusion, of patients with a low and intermediate Framingham risk score, a significant proportion had proximal atherosclerotic plaque or obstructive CAD.

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