Purpose: To assess the relationship between total, calcified, and noncalcified coronary plaque burdens throughout the entire coronary vasculature at coronary computed tomographic (CT) angiography in relationship to cardiovascular risk factors in asymptomatic individuals with low-to-moderate risk. Materials and Methods: This HIPAA-compliant study had institutional review board approval, and written informed consent was obtained. Two hundred two subjects were recruited to an ongoing prospective study designed to evaluate the effect of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors on atherosclerosis. Eligible subjects were asymptomatic individuals older than 55 years who were eligible for statin therapy. Coronary CT angiography was performed by using a 320-detector row scanner. Coronary wall thickness and plaque were evaluated in all epicardial coronary arteries greater than 2 mm in diameter. Images were analyzed by using dedicated software involving an adaptive lumen attenuation algorithm. Total plaque index (calcified plus noncalcified plaque) was defined as plaque volume divided by vessel length. Multivariable regression analysis was performed to determine the relationship between risk factors and plaque indexes. Results: The mean age of the subjects was 65.5 years 6 6.9 (standard deviation) (36% women), and the median coronary artery calcium (CAC) score was 73 (interquartile range, 1-434). The total coronary plaque index was higher in men than in women (42.06 mm2 6 9.22 vs 34.33 mm2 6 8.35; P , .001). In multivariable analysis controlling for all risk factors, total plaque index remained higher in men than in women (by 5.01 mm2; P = .03) and in those with higher simvastatin doses (by 0.44 mm2/10 mg simvastatin dose equivalent; P = .02). Noncalcified plaque index was positively correlated with systolic blood pressure (b = 0.80 mm2/10 mm Hg; P = .03), diabetes (b = 4.47 mm2; P = .03), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level (b = 0.04 mm2/mg/dL; P = .02); the association with LDL cholesterol level remained significant (P = .02) after additional adjustment for the CAC score. Conclusion: LDL cholesterol level, systolic blood pressure, and diabetes were associated with noncalcified plaque burden at coronary CT angiography in asymptomatic individuals with low-to-moderate risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging