Coronary calcification and its relation to extracoronary atherosclerosis in asymptomatic hypercholesterolemic men. The PCV METRA Group.
BACKGROUND The prevalence of coronary calcifications and extracoronary plaques was studied in patients with asymptomatic hypercholesterolemia.
METHODS AND RESULTS Ultrafast computed tomography for coronary calcification (presence or absence: calcium score) and echographic assessment of carotid, aortic, and femoral plaques were performed in 111 hypercholesterolemic men: 65% had coronary calcification, 72% had extracoronary plaque. The two lesions were associated as: 1) compared with subjects without coronary calcification, those with calcification had a higher prevalence of aortic (p less than 0.05) and femoral (p less than 0.01) plaque and of two diseased sites (p less than 0.05); 2) the prevalence of coronary calcification was higher in the presence than in the absence of aortic (p less than 0.05) or femoral (p less than 0.01) plaque and higher in two (p less than 0.01) and three diseased (p less than 0.05) sites than in no diseased site; 3) the calcium score was higher in the presence than in the absence of carotid (p less than 0.05), aortic (p less than 0.05), or femoral (p less than 0.001) plaque, higher in two (p less than 0.001) and three diseased (p less than 0.05) sites than in no diseased sites, and higher in two (p less than 0.01) than in one diseased site; and 4) the calcium score correlated with femoral plaque (p less than 0.001). Overall, the presence of two or three diseased extracoronary sites versus no or one diseased site showed a power of 78% for predicting coronary calcification. Coronary calcium score correlated with age (p less than 0.01) and triglycerides (p less than 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS The close relation between coronary calcium and extracoronary plaques suggests that echography of extracoronary vessels could aid in the screening of coronary atherosclerosis in high-risk, asymptomatic individuals.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association