Quantification of coronary artery calcium in nongated CT to predict cardiovascular events in male lung cancer screening participants: Results of the NELSON study

Takx, Richard A. P., IĆĄgum, Ivana, Willemink, Martin J., van der Graaf, Yolanda, de Koning, Harry J., Vliegenthart, Rozemarijn, Oudkerk, Matthijs, Leiner, Tim, de Jong, Pim A.


Journal of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography 9 (1), p. 50-57


Objective: To evaluate the incremental prognostic value of the number and maximum volume of coronary artery calcifications over modified Agatston score strata, age, pack-years, and smoking status for predicting cardiovascular events.

Methods: A total of 3559 male current and former smokers received a CT examination for lung cancer screening. Smoking characteristics, patient demographics, and physician-diagnosed cardiovascular events were collected. Images were acquired without electro-cardiography gating on 16-slice CT scanners. The association between the presence of both fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events and the predictors was quantified using Cox proportional hazard analysis.

Results: Median follow-up period was 2.9 years. Incident cardiovascular events occurred in 186 participants. Adjusted hazard ratios for modified Agatston score strata of 1 to 10, 11 to 100, 101 to 400, and >400 were 3.39 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.20-9.59), 6.52 (95% CI, 2.73-15.60), 6.58 (95% CI, 2.75-15.78), and 12.58, (95% CI, 5.42-29.16), respectively. Moreover, comparing the models with and without Modified Agatston score strata to the model with age, pack-years, and smoking status yielded a significantly better net reclassification improvement (NRI; 27.3%; P <.0001). Adding the number of calcifications to the model with age, pack-years, smoking status, and modified Agatston score strata resulted in a slightly better NRI (1.68%; P = .0490) with a hazard ratio of 1.13 (95% CI, 1.05-1.21) per 10 calcificatiOns. The incremental prognostic information contained in the volume of the largest calcification was not statistically significant (NRI, 0.14%; P = .3458).

Conclusion: Cardiovascular event rate increased with higher numbers of calcified lesions. The number but not maximum volume of calcifications has independent, although minimal, prognostic value over age, pack-years, smoking status, and modified Agatston score strata in our population. (C) 2015 Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography. All rights reserved.