Measuring coronary calcium on CT images adjusted for attenuation differences
ABSTRACT To quantify scanner and participant variability in attenuation values for computed tomographic (CT) images assessed for coronary calcium and define a method for standardizing attenuation values and calibrating calcium measurements.
Institutional review board approval and participant informed consent were obtained at all study sites. An image attenuation adjustment method involving the use of available calibration phantom data to define standard attenuation values was developed. The method was applied to images from two population-based multicenter studies: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study (3041 participants) and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (6814 participants). To quantify the variability in attenuation, analysis of variance techniques were used to compare the CT numbers of standardized torso phantom regions across study sites, and multivariate linear regression models of participant-specific calibration phantom attenuation values that included participant age, race, sex, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, and site as covariates were developed. To assess the effect of the calibration method on calcium measurements, Pearson correlation coefficients between unadjusted and attenuation-adjusted calcium measurements were computed. Multivariate models were used to examine the effect of sex, race, BMI, smoking status, unadjusted score, and site on Agatston score adjustments.
Mean attenuation values (CT numbers) of a standard calibration phantom scanned beneath participants varied significantly according to scanner and participant BMI (P < .001 for both). Values were lowest for Siemens multi-detector row CT scanners (110.0 HU), followed by GE-Imatron electron-beam (116.0 HU) and GE LightSpeed multi-detector row scanners (121.5 HU). Values were also lower for morbidly obese (BMI, > or =40.0 kg/m(2)) participants (108.9 HU), followed by obese (BMI, 30.0-39.9 kg/m(2)) (114.8 HU), overweight (BMI, 25.0-29.9 kg/m(2)) (118.5 HU), and normal-weight or underweight (BMI, <25.0 kg/m(2)) (120.1 HU) participants. Agatston score calibration adjustments ranged from -650 to 1071 (mean, -8 +/- 50 [standard deviation]) and increased with Agatston score (P < .001). The direction and magnitude of adjustment varied significantly according to scanner and BMI (P < .001 for both) and were consistent with phantom attenuation results in that calibration resulted in score decreases for images with higher phantom attenuation values.
Image attenuation values vary by scanner and participant body size, producing calcium score differences that are not due to true calcium burden disparities. Use of calibration phantoms to adjust attenuation values and calibrate calcium measurements in research studies and clinical practice may improve the comparability of such measurements between persons scanned with different scanners and within persons over time.
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ABSTRACT: The absence of coronary artery calcium (CAC) in middle age is associated with very low short-term risk for coronary events. However, the long-term implications of a CAC score of 0 are uncertain, particularly among individuals with high cardiovascular lifetime risk. We sought to characterize the association between predicted lifetime risk and incident CAC among individuals with low short-term risk. We included 754 Dallas Heart Study participants with serial CAC scans (6.9 years apart) and both low short-term risk and baseline CAC=0. Lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease was estimated according to risk factor burden. Among this group, 365 individuals (48.4%) were at low lifetime risk and 389 (51.6%) at high lifetime risk. High lifetime risk was associated with higher annualized CAC incidence (4.2% versus 2.7%; P < 0.001). Similarly, mean follow-up CAC scores were higher among participants with high lifetime risk (7.8 versus 2.4 Agatston units). After adjustment for age, sex, and race, high lifetime risk remained independently associated with incident CAC (OR 1.60; 95% CI 1.12 to 2.27; P=0.01). When assessing risk factor burden at the follow-up visit, 66.7% of CAC incidence observed in the low lifetime risk group occurred among individuals reclassified to a higher short- or long-term risk category. Among individuals with low short-term risk and CAC scores of 0, high lifetime risk is associated with a higher incidence of CAC. These findings highlight the importance of lifetime risk even among individuals with very low short-term risk. © 2014 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.Journal of the American Heart Association 10/2014; 3(6). DOI:10.1161/JAHA.114.001280 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are increased in rheumatoid arthritis, little is known about the burden of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in these patients. Using computed tomography, coronary artery calcification was measured in 195 men and women with rheumatoid arthritis aged 45 to 84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease and compared with 1,073 controls without rheumatoid arthritis enrolled in the Baltimore cohort of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. The prevalence of coronary calcification (Agatston score > 0) was significantly higher in men, but not women, with rheumatoid arthritis after adjusting for sociodemographic and cardiovascular risk factors (prevalence ratio = 1.19; P = 0.012). Among participants with prevalent calcification, those with rheumatoid arthritis had adjusted mean Agatston scores 53 units higher than controls (P = 0.002); a difference greater for men than women (P for interaction = 0.017). In all analyses, serum IL-6 attenuated the association between rheumatoid arthritis and coronary calcification, suggesting its role as a potential mediator of enhanced atherosclerosis. Notably, increasing severity of rheumatoid arthritis was associated with a higher prevalence and extent of coronary calcification among both men and women with rheumatoid arthritis, and for all age categories. The largest percentage difference in coronary arterial calcification between rheumatoid arthritis patients and their nonrheumatoid arthritis counterparts was observed in the youngest age category. Increasing rheumatoid arthritis disease severity was associated with a higher prevalence and greater extent of coronary artery calcification, potentially mediated through an atherogenic effect of chronic systemic inflammation. Gender and age differences in association with coronary calcification suggest that preventive measures should be emphasized in men with rheumatoid arthritis, and considered even in younger rheumatoid arthritis patients with low levels of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.Arthritis research & therapy 04/2009; 11(2):R36. DOI:10.1186/ar2641 · 4.12 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) is higher in Northern than that in Southern China, however differences in traditional CHD risk factors do not fully explain this. No study has examined the differences in subclinical atherosclerosis that may help explain the differences in incidence. This study examined these differences in subclinical atherosclerosis using coronary computed tomography (CT) for calcification between the Northern and Southern China. We selected a random sample of participants in a large multi-center ongoing epidemiologic study for coronary calcium scanning in one northern city (North) (Beijing, n = 49) and in two southern cities (South) (Shanghai, n = 50, and Guangzhou, n = 50). Participants from the three field centers (mean age 67 years) underwent coronary risk factor evaluation and cardiac CT scanning for coronary calcium measurement using the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis scanning protocol. Adjusted log-transformed coronary artery calcium score in North China (Beijing) was 3.1 ± 0.4 and in South China (Shanghai and Guangzhou) was 2.2 ± 0.3 (P = 0.04). Mean calcium score for the northern city of Beijing was three times higher than that of the southern city of Guangzhou (P = 0.01) and 2.5 times higher than for the southern city of Shanghai (P = 0.03). The extent of subclinical atherosclerosis is significantly higher in the northern city of Beijing than that in the two southern cities of Guangzhou and Shanghai, even after adjusting for standard cardiac risk factors. This finding suggests that standard risk factors do not fully explain north south differences in clinical CHD incidence.Journal of Geriatric Cardiology 06/2011; 8(2):72-7. DOI:10.3724/SP.J.1263.2011.00072 · 1.06 Impact Factor