Objectives: This study assessed the utility of the pooled cohort equation (PCE) and/or coronary artery calcium (CAC) for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk assessment in smokers, especially those who were lung cancer screening eligible (LCSE). Background: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services currently pays for annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography scans in a specified group of cigarette smokers. CAC can be obtained from these low-dose scans. The incremental utility of CAC for ASCVD risk stratification remains unclear in this high-risk group. Methods: Of 6,814 MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) participants, 3,356 (49.2% of total cohort) were smokers (2,476 former and 880 current), and 14.3% were LCSE. Kaplan-Meier, Cox proportional hazards, area under the curve, and net reclassification improvement (NRI) analyses were used to assess the association between PCE and/or CAC and incident ASCVD. Incident ASCVD was defined as coronary death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or fatal or nonfatal stroke. Results: Smokers had a mean age of 62.1 years, 43.5% were female, and all had a mean of 23.0 pack-years of smoking. The LCSE sample had a mean age of 65.3 years, 39.1% were female, and all had a mean of 56.7 pack-years of smoking. After a mean of 11.1 years of follow-up 13.4% of all smokers and 20.8% of LCSE smokers had ASCVD events; 6.7% of all smokers and 14.2% of LCSE smokers with CAC = 0 had an ASCVD event during the follow-up. One SD increase in the PCE 10-year risk was associated with a 68% increase risk for ASCVD events in all smokers (hazard ratio: 1.68; 95% confidence interval: 1.57 to 1.80) and a 22% increase in risk for ASCVD events in the LCSE smokers (hazard ratio: 1.22; 95% confidence interval: 1.00 to 1.47). CAC was associated with increased ASCVD risk in all smokers and in LCSE smokers in all the Cox models. The C-statistic of the PCE for ASCVD was higher in all smokers compared with LCSE smokers (0.693 vs. 0.545). CAC significantly improved the C-statistics of the PCE in all smokers but not in LCSE smokers. The event and nonevent net reclassification improvements for all smokers and LCSE smokers were 0.018 and -0.126 versus 0.16 and -0.196, respectively. Conclusions: In this well-characterized, multiethnic U.S. cohort, CAC was predictive of ASCVD in all smokers and in LCSE smokers but modestly improved discrimination over and beyond the PCE. However, 6.7% of all smokers and 14.2% of LCSE smokers with CAC = 0 had an ASCVD event during follow-up.
- Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
- Cigarette smokers
- Coronary artery calcium
- Pooled cohort equation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine