Coronary artery calcium score and coronary computed tomographic angiography for cardiovascular risk stratification.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading mortality cause worldwide. The capacity to identify among the asymptomatic individuals the subgroup at greater risk for developing cardiovascular events is fundamental in any strategy aimed at reducing the rate of cardiovascular events. The first step in cardiovascular risk stratification is the use of global risk scores, the Framingham risk score being the most frequently used. However, previous studies have shown that, although very useful, clinical scores, when used alone, have a limited capacity for stratifying cardiovascular risk in a significant part of the population. In that context, coronary artery calcium score (CACS) and coronary computed tomographic angiography might play an important role as complementary tools for risk stratification of asymptomatic patients. The CACS provides important prognostic information that is incremental to clinical scores based on traditional risk factors and other diagnostic modalities, such as C-reactive protein measurement. In addition, CACS has the potential to change and help the patients' clinical management. On the other hand, coronary computed tomographic angiography provides a detailed assessment of the anatomy of the coronary arteries, allowing visualizing not only the lumen, but also the coronary arterial walls. Compared with conventional invasive coronary angiography, coronary computed tomographic angiography has excellent accuracy to identify and mainly exclude the presence of significant obstructive lesions. In addition, it proved to be able to provide incremental prognostic information to traditional risk factors and CACS.
Azevedo, CF; Rochitte, CE; Lima, JAC
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