coronary artery scoring; calcium scoring; multi-detector CT; vascular calcification; cardiovascular diseases; heart disease risk factors; x-ray computed tomography


Cardiology | Circulatory and Respiratory Physiology


Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring is an important prognostic tool for personalized cardiovascular preventive care and has recently been incorporated into American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines. CAC provides direct visualization and quantification of CAC burden for risk stratification and primary prevention of cardiovascular events in an asymptomatic population. CAC scoring is recommended for individuals with intermediate 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk and selective populations with borderline ASCVD risk. In this review, we outline the interpretation of CAC scores for predicting the risk of cardiovascular events, and we highlight the guidelines for starting statin and potentially starting aspirin therapy. A CAC score of 0 is the strongest negative predictive factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and a 0 score can successfully de-risk a patient. On the contrary, higher CAC scores correlate with worse cardiovascular prognostic outcomes. The CAC scan is a widely available and reproducible means for an early look at the atherosclerotic burden, and it can help strategize early interventions. The CAC interpretation and the decision to start treatment need to be personalized based on individual risk factors. We believe the emerging literature supports our contention that the CAC score can be used more broadly to improve the prophylaxis and treatment of a wider range of apparently healthy patients.