Published online Jun 28, 2014. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v6.i6.381
Revised: February 9, 2014
Accepted: May 8, 2014
Published online: June 28, 2014
AIM: To evaluate the feasibility of coronary artery calcium score (CACS) on low-dose non-gated chest CT (ngCCT).
METHODS: Sixty consecutive individuals (30 males; 73 ± 7 years) scheduled for risk stratification by means of unenhanced ECG-triggered cardiac computed tomography (gCCT) underwent additional unenhanced ngCCT. All CT scans were performed on a 64-slice CT scanner (Somatom Sensation 64 Cardiac, Siemens, Germany). CACS was calculated using conventional methods/scores (Volume, Mass, Agatston) as previously described in literature. The CACS value obtained were compared. The Mayo Clinic classification was used to stratify cardiovascular risk based on Agatston CACS. Differences and correlations between the two methods were compared. A P-value < 0.05 was considered significant.
RESULTS: Mean CACS values were significantly higher for gCCT as compared to ngCCT (Volume: 418 ± 747 vs 332 ± 597; Mass: 89 ± 151 vs 78 ± 141; Agatston: 481 ± 854 vs 428 ± 776; P < 0.05). The correlation between the two values was always very high (Volume: r = 0.95; Mass: r = 0.97; Agatston: r = 0.98). Of the 6 patients with 0 Agatston score on gCCT, 2 (33%) showed an Agatston score > 0 in the ngCCT. Of the 3 patients with 1-10 Agatston score on gCCT, 1 (33%) showed an Agatston score of 0 in the ngCCT. Overall, 23 (38%) patients were reclassified in a different cardiovascular risk category, mostly (18/23; 78%) shifting to a lower risk in the ngCCT. The estimated radiation dose was significantly higher for gCCT (DLP 115.8 ± 50.7 vs 83.8 ± 16.3; Effective dose 1.6 ± 0.7 mSv vs 1.2 ± 0.2 mSv; P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: CACS assessment is feasible on ngCCT; the variability of CACS values and the associated re-stratification of patients in cardiovascular risk groups should be taken into account.
Core tip: Low dose chest computed tomography (CT)/high-resolution CT (HRCT) is entering the clinical practice for the screening of individuals at high risk of lung cancer. This study provides evidence that a surrogate stratification of cardiovascular risk can be performed on low-dose chest CT performed in the settings of lung cancer screening. This finding has some relevant consequences since lung cancer and atherosclerosis share some similarities concerning risk factors (smoking), patients’ population (age decade and gender prevalence).