Morphomic Calcification Score From Clinical CT Scans: A Proxy for Coronary Artery Calcium
Clin Imaging . 2020 Apr 18;66:57-63. doi: 10.1016/j.clinimag.2020.03.017. Online ahead of print.
Steven R Horbal, Andrea H Rossman, Edward Brown, Nidhi V Shah, Brian E Ross, Aurelian Bidulescu, June A Sullivan, Grace L Su, Stewart C Wang
Background: Screening of cardiovascular risk is essential in preventing cardiac events and quantifying asymptomatic risk. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores are a well-established in predicting cardiovascular risk, but require specialized computed tomography (CT) scans. Given the relationship of aortic calcification with cardiovascular risk, we sought to determine whether aortic calcification measures from incidental CT scans may approximate CAC.
Study design: Retrospective CT scans and corresponding volumetric CAC scores were obtained from patients at the University of Michigan. Aortic calcifications were measured in 166 scans. Correlations between a novel morphomic calcium (MC) percent score and CAC score were evaluated using Kendall's correlation coefficients. Comparison of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves based on MC at different vertebral levels showed the highest predictive values for measures taken at L4.
Results: MC at L4 shows promise in predicting CAC (AUC 0.90 in non-contrast scans, 0.70 in post-contrast scans). Proposed MC threshold are (4.21% for best sensitivity, B 12.93% for balance, C = 19.26% for specificity) in scans without contrast enhancement and (D = 7.31 for sensitivity, E 8.06 for specificity) in scans with contrast enhancement.
Conclusion: The MC score demonstrates promising potential in approximating CAC, particularly at the L4 level. The utilization of MC from incidental CT scans may be useful for assessment of cardiovascular risk. The ability to extract MC from contrast scans makes it especially valuable to patients receiving additional medical or surgical care. Recognition of high-risk patients would allow the use of indicated preventative strategies to avoid hard cardiovascular events in at risk patients.
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