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Eur Radiol. 2013 May;23(5):1226-33. doi: 10.1007/s00330-012-2726-5. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Reliable categorisation of visual scoring of coronary artery calcification on low-dose CT for lung cancer screening: validation with the standard Agatston score.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, No. 386, Ta-Chung 1st Road, Kaohsiung 813, Taiwan, Republic of China.



To validate the reliability of the visual coronary artery calcification score (VCACS) on low-dose CT (LDCT) for concurrent screening of CAC and lung cancer.


We enrolled 401 subjects receiving LDCT for lung cancer screening and ECG-gated CT for the Agatston score (AS). LDCT was reconstructed with 3- and 5-mm slice thickness (LDCT-3mm and LDCT-5mm respectively) for VCACS to obtain VCACS-3mm and VCACS-5mm respectively. After a training session comprising 32 cases, two observers performed four-scale VCACS (absent, mild, moderate, severe) of 369 data sets independently, the results were compared with four-scale AS (0, 1-100, 101-400, >400).


CACs were present in 39.6 % (146/369) of subjects. The sensitivity of VCACS-3mm was higher than for VCACS-5mm (83.6 % versus 74.0 %). The median of AS of the 24 false-negative cases in VCACS-3mm was 2.3 (range 1.1-21.1). The false-negative rate for detecting AS ≥ 10 on LDCT-3mm was 1.9 %. VCACS-3mm had higher concordance with AS than VCACS-5mm (k = 0.813 versus k = 0.685). An extended test of VCACS-3mm for four junior observers showed high inter-observer reliability (intra-class correlation = 0.90) and good concordance with AS (k = 0.662-0.747).


This study validated the reliability of VCACS on LDCT for lung cancer screening and showed that LDCT-3mm was more feasible than LDCT-5mm for CAD risk stratification.


• Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) rarely misses significant coronary artery calcification (CAC). • Visual scoring of CAC on LDCT is highly concordant with Agatston scoring. • LDCT-3mm is more feasible than LDCT-5mm for CAD risk stratification. • CAC assessment enriched the screening information for LDCT lung cancer screening.

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