Coronary artery calcium scoring for cardiovascular risk assessment in patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Robert Naami, Nour Tashtish, Ian J. Neeland, Jeffry Katz, Preetika Sinh, Khurram Nasir, Vibhu Chittajallu, Emad Mansoor, Sanjay Rajagopalan, Sadeer Al-Kindi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with higher incidence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Data investigating the role of coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring in identifying subclinical atherosclerotic disease in IBD patients is scarce.

METHODS: Using data obtained from the CLARIFY registry, a prospective study of no-charge coronary artery calcium (CAC) testing at University Hospitals, we reviewed patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease (CD) who underwent CAC scoring from 2014 to 2020. We investigated the concordance between CAC risk and 10-year estimated ASCVD risk by AHA/ACC pooled cohort equation using pre-established thresholds for statin prescription (CAC≥100, 10-year ASCVD risk ≥7.5%). We additionally investigated the association between CAC, preventive therapy initiation and Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events (MACE).

RESULTS: A total of 369 patients with IBD were included (174 UC, 195 CD), with median age of 60 years. The median CAC score was 14.9 with no significant difference between UC and CD (P = .76). Overall, 151 (41%) had CAC of 0, 108 (29%) had CAC 1-99, 61 (17%) had CAC 100 to 399, and 49 (13%) had CAC ≥400 with no difference in CAC distribution between CD and UC (P = .17). There was no difference in median CAC between IBD or age/sex-matched controls (P = .34). Approximately half of the patients (52%) with IBD had 10-year estimated ASCVD risk of 7.5% or higher. Among patients with ASCVD risk <7.5% (n = 163), 29 (18%) had CAC≥100 and among patients with ASCVD risk ≥7.5% (n = 178), 102 (57%) had CAC <100. There was no difference between CAC<100 vs CAC≥100 with respect to CRP, use of immunosuppressive or amino-salicylate therapy, IBD severity or complications. CAC score (AUROC 0.67 [0.56-0.78]), but not PCE ASCVD risk (AUROC 0.60 [0.48-0.73]), was predictive of MACE. The best cut-off for CAC score was 76 (sensitivity = 60%, specificity = 69%), and was associated with 4-fold increase in MACE (Hazard Ratio 4.0 [2.0-8.1], P < .001).

CONCLUSION: Subclinical atherosclerosis, as evaluated by CAC scoring, is prevalent in patients with IBD, and is associated with cardiovascular events. Further studies are needed to understand underlying biological processes of increased atherosclerotic disease risk among adults with IBD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Early online dateAug 25 2023
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Adult
  • Atherosclerosis/epidemiology
  • Calcium
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology
  • Coronary Artery Disease/diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment/methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Calcification/diagnostic imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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