Correlations Between Vascular Calcification and Atherosclerosis: A Comparative Electron Beam CT Study of the Coronary and Carotid Arteries

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Abstract

Purpose:

Electron beam CT (EBCT)-derived coronary artery calcium scores correlate with the extent of atherosclerosis, but there is a substantial variance about the general relationship between coronary calcification and coronary atherosclerosis. The relationship between calcification and atherosclerosis may also differ in various arteries. This study was designed to evaluate whether the relation between carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) and carotid artery calcium could be used as a correction factor to improve the correlation between coronary calcification and coronary atherosclerosis.

Method:

We measured atherosclerosis in the coronary and carotid arteries by angiography and ultrasonography, respectively, and quantified coronary and carotid calcium deposition with EBCT in 50 subjects. The correlation between the findings in the carotid and coronary arteries was investigated.

Results:

Coronary artery calcium score correlated with coronary angiography and with carotid calcium score. Coronary stenosis correlated with carotid IMT. There was no meaningful correlation of carotid IMT and carotid calcium.

Conclusion:

There is an intraindividual variation in the relationship of plaque mass to calcification among different vessels. The relation between carotid artery calcification and carotid IMT is not predictive of the relation between coronary artery calcification and coronary obstruction.

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