Although incidental coronary artery calcium (CAC) has been established as a surrogate measure for atherosclerotic plaque burden, little is known about its progression and the associated risks. This study looks at the association of select cardiovascular risk factors with the progression of CAC over a 2-year period and the relationship between CAC progression and experiencing a composite cardiovascular disease (CVD) event.Methods:
Repeated CAC measurements were obtained for 311 asymptomatic participants aged >44 years, who were recruited from a collaborative network of primary care clinics.Results:
An average of 24.4 months separated scans and CAC scores increased by a mean of 24.45 Agatston units. A total of 113 participants (30%) demonstrated CAC progression, whereas the rest showed no change or a decrease in CAC over 2 years. In adjusted regression models that controlled for age and sex, the following were associated with 2-year CAC progression: dyslipidemia, systolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, and non-high-density lipoprotein. Moreover, those with progressive CAC measures were >4 times more likely to experience a composite CVD event in 2 years, after controlling for known risk factors.Conclusions:
Overall, several baseline risk factors remained significant after adjusting for age and sex. CAC progression was independently associated with a composite CVD event.