Predictive Value of Coronary Artery Calcium in Patients Receiving Computed Tomography Pulmonary Angiography for Suspected Pulmonary Embolism in the Emergency Department.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: Coronary artery calcium (CAC) is a frequent incidental finding on computed tomography pulmonary angiogram (CTPA) in the evaluation of pulmonary embolism (PE) in the emergency department (ED); however, its prognostic value is unclear. In this study, we interrogate the prognostic value of CAC identified on CTPA in predicting adverse outcomes in the evaluation of PE in the ED. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, we identified 610 patients presenting to the ED in 2013 and evaluated with CTPA for suspected PE. Ordinal CAC scores were evaluated as absent (0), mild (1), moderate (2), or severe (3) in each of the 4 main coronary arteries. Composite CAC scores were subsequently compared against adverse clinical outcomes, defined as intensive care unit admission, hospital stay longer than 72 hours, or death during hospital course or at 6-month follow-up, using univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses. Relevant exclusion criteria included a history of cardiovascular disease. RESULTS: In all, 365 patients met the inclusion criteria (231 women, mean age 56±16 y) with 132 patients (36%) having some degree of CAC and 16 (4%) having severe CAC. Known malignancy was present in 151 (41%) patients and composite adverse clinical outcomes were observed in 98 patients (32%). Age, presence of acute PE, malignancy, and presence of CAC were significant predictors of adverse outcomes on both univariate and multivariate analyses. CAC was not an independent predictor of short-term adverse outcomes on multivariate analysis ( P =0.06) when all patients were considered. However, when patients with known malignancy were excluded, CAC was an independent predictor of short-term adverse outcomes (odds ratio=2.5, confidence interval=1.1-5.5, P =0.03) independent of age and presence of PE. CONCLUSION: The presence of CAC on CT PA was predictive of adverse outcomes in patients without known cardiac disease presenting to the ED with suspected PE.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Vakil, P; Wen, Z; Lima, AS; Weber, EJ; Kallianos, KG; Elicker, BM; Naeger, DM; Henry, TS; Ordovas, KG

Published Date

  • September 1, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 37 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 279 - 284

PubMed ID

  • 35576536

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1536-0237

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/RTI.0000000000000654


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States