Coronary artery calcium (CAC) is a highly specific marker for coronary atherosclerosis. The CAC Consortium, a multicenter, retrospective, real-world cohort study, was established to investigate the association between CAC and long-term, cause-specific mortality. This review summarizes findings from CAC Consortium studies published between 2016 and 2020, aiming to demystify CAC as a clinical decision-guiding tool and push the limits of who might benefit from CAC in clinical practice. CAC has been shown to effectively stratify cardiovascular risk across ethnicities irrespective of age, sex, and risk factor burden. In comparison to other widely used risk scores, CAC appears to be most consistent in its ability to add to cardiovascular disease (CVD) event prediction. Beyond risk stratification, CAC has been shown to identify high-risk patient subgroups. While currently recommended only for patients at borderline or intermediate risk by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (10-year atherosclerotic CVD event risk, 5% to < 20%), CAC scoring may also provide value in select young patients aged 30–49 years and in low-risk patients with a family history. While new studies emphasize that patients with a CAC greater than or equal to 1000 be considered a distinct patient group, a CAC of 0 has additionally emerged to be a reliable negative risk factor, identifying patients at low risk of both CVD and non-CVD mortality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging