Using noncontrast cardiac CT and coronary artery calcification measurements for cardiovascular risk assessment and management in asymptomatic adults
John A Rumberger
The Mayo Clinic and Foundation Director of Cardiac Imaging The Princeton Longevity Center, Princeton, NJ, USA
Abstract: The presence of mural calcification has, for decades, been recognized as a marker for atheromatous plaque in the coronary arteries and the aorta, but only in the past decade has the application of noncontrast computed tomography (CT) been shown to be a reproducible, safe, and convenient test, which now is available worldwide. However, awareness of coronary artery calcium scanning is insufficient and the practitioner must be aware of the available literature as well as understanding clinical recommendations for applications and interpretation. It is best applied in the medium/intermediate risk, asymptomatic adult regardless of ethnicity across broad age ranges for both men and women; additional prognostic information is also afforded from the calcium distribution in the coronary artery system. Additionally, information can also be derived from the same CT scan regarding heart and aorta size and assessment of the epicardial fat pad (an anatomic marker for the metabolic syndrome). Details of how this test can aid in cardiovascular risk assessment and management in adults are provided.
Keywords: coronary artery calcium, coronary artery disease, electron beam computed tomography, multidetector computed tomography, National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Plan III (NCEP ATP III), epicardial fat
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