Relation Between Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaques and Traditional Risk Factors in People with No History of Cardiovascular Disease Undergoing Multi-Detector Computed Coronary Angiography

OBJECTIVES: To prospectively investigate the prevalence of coronary artery plaques (CAP) as detected by computed tomography-based angiography in a large number of consecutive individuals with no history of coronary artery disease (CAD) or acute coronary syndrome; to evaluate whether traditional risk factors are related to prevalence of CAP and to the expected 10-year risk of first major or fatal cardiovascular event (CVE). 

METHODS: Design: Prospective, single-centre, cross-sectional study.Setting: The division of Cardiology at Fondazione Cardiocentro Ticino Lugano, Switzerland. We prospectively included 920 consecutive individuals with no history of CAD who underwent computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA). Risk estimation of fatal and non-fatal CVE was assessed using Global Assessment Risk (GAR) and Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE), respectively. Logistic regression was used to assess the association of risk factors with the prevalence of CAP.

RESULTS: CAP was found in 459 (49.9%) individuals. Older age, higher body mass index, male gender, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidaemia all increased the likelihood of the CAP burden at univariable analysis (p<0.001). At the multivariable analysis older age, male gender, hypertension and diabetes independently increased the likelihood of CAP burden (p<0.001). An increase in likelihood of CAP was observed in the presence of one, two and three or more risk factors and with an increasing value of GAR and SCORE. Notably, about 18% of subjects with CAP did not report any traditional risk factors and among individuals without CAPs, 12% had three or more risk factors.

CONCLUSIONS: A direct relation between the prevalence of CAP, number of risk factors and the related 10-year risk of CVE was found. 18% of subjects without risk factors had CAP. In these individuals CTCA may help in further optimising the risk reduction strategies on an individual basis.

PMID: 19406736

Posted in Computed Tomography and tagged , , , , , .

One Comment

  1. The authors prospectively selected 920 individuals with no history of cardiovascular disease for this cross-sectional study.
    One of the interesting results of the study was that “18% of subjects with coronary arterial plaque did not report any traditional risk factor and among individuals with no coronary arterial plaque, 12% of them had three risk factors.”
    One of the limitations of the study (as identified by the authors as well) was that the calcium scores were not measured in all the patients, “a significant limitation given that calcium score has already been shown to be independent of conventional risk factors.”

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