MONDAY, Oct. 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A computed tomography (CT)-based abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) score is a strong predictor of future cardiovascular events in asymptomatic patients, according to a study published online Oct. 2 in Radiology.

Stacey D. O’Connor, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues conducted a retrospective examination of electronic health records for 829 asymptomatic patients who underwent non-enhanced CT colonography screening. Participants were followed for a mean of 11.2 years for subsequent cardiovascular events.

The researchers found that 19 percent of patients had an index cardiovascular event after CT. The cardiovascular event cohort had higher AAC (mean AAC, 3,478 versus 664). At both univariable and multivariable modeling, AAC was a strong predictor of cardiovascular events, independent of Framingham risk score (FRS). At all evaluated time points, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was higher for AAC than FRS (e.g., AUC of 0.82 versus 0.64 at two years). AAC improved FRS risk categorization with net reclassification improvement of 35.4 percent using a cut-off point of 200.

“We found a strong association between abdominal aortic calcification and future cardiovascular events,” O’Connor said in a statement. “With heart disease being a leading cause of death, anything we can do to make our patients more aware of their risk is going to help.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to industry, including biopharmaceutical, medical device, and publishing companies.

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