Does Nonenhanced CT-based Quantification of Abdominal Aortic Calcification Outperform the Framingham Risk Score in Predicting Cardiovascular Events in Asymptomatic Adults?
Radiology. 2019 Jan;290(1):108-115. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2018180562. Epub 2018 Oct 2.
O'Connor SD1, Graffy PM1, Zea R1, Pickhardt PJ1.
Purpose To determine if abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) at CT predicts cardiovascular events independent of Framingham risk score (FRS). Materials and Methods For this retrospective study, electronic health records for 829 asymptomatic patients (mean age, 57.9 years; 451 women, 378 men) who underwent nonenhanced CT colonography screening between April 2004 and March 2005 were reviewed for subsequent cardiovascular events; mean follow-up interval was 11.2 years ± 2.8 (standard deviation). Institutional review board approval was obtained. CT-based AAC was retrospectively quantified as a modified Agatston score by using a semiautomated tool. Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional hazards models were used for time-to-event analysis; receiver operating characteristic curves and net reclassification improvement compared predictive abilities of AAC and FRS. Results An index cardiovascular event occurred after CT in 156 (19%) of 829 patients (6.7 years ± 3.5, including heart attack in 39 [5%] and death in 79 [10%]). AAC was higher in the cardiovascular event cohort (mean AAC, 3478 vs 664; P < .001). AAC was a strong predictor of cardiovascular events at both univariable and multivariable Cox modeling, independent of FRS (P < .001). Kaplan-Meier plots showed better separation with AAC over FRS. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was higher for AAC than FRS at all evaluated time points (eg, AUC of 0.82 vs 0.64 at 2 years; P = .014). By using a cutoff point of 200, AAC improved FRS risk categorization with net reclassification improvement of 35.4%. Conclusion CT-based abdominal aortic calcification was a strong predictor of future cardiovascular events, outperforming the Framingham risk score. This finding suggests a potential opportunistic role in abdominal nonenhanced CT scans performed for other clinical indications.