Difference in atherosclerosis burden in different nations and continents assessed by coronary artery calcium

Raul D. Santos, Khurram Nasir, John A. Rumberger, Matthew J. Budoff, Joel B. Braunstein, Romeu Meneghelo, Miguel Barreiros, Armando Pereirinha, Jose A.M. Carvalho, Roger S. Blumenthal, Paolo Raggi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We utilized coronary artery calcium scores (CACS) to assess differences in atherosclerosis burden between asymptomatic White populations living in continents with different cardiovascular disease rates. The similarities in the genetic pool between Brazilian and Portuguese Caucasian subjects offered an opportunity to assess the influence of environmnetal factors on the development of atherosclerosis. We reviewed CACS data from 17,563 individuals (12,378 men and 5169 women) collected in the USA (74% of the subjects), Brazil (15% of the subjects) and Portugal (11% of the subjects). CACS was absent in 80 and 88% of Portuguese men and women, compared with 46 and 62% and 33 and 59% of Brazilian and US counterparts (p < 0.0001). Although the US subjects showed the lowest prevalence of risk factors they had a higher median (interquartile range) CACS than the Brazilian and the Portuguese cohorts: 4 (0;87), 1 (0;68) and 0 (0;0), respectively (p < 0.0001). After adjusting for differences in age and cardiovascular risk factors, US men showed higher relative risk ratios of having any CACS than either Brazilian or Portuguese men. Brazilian and US women did not differ as far as risk of CACS although they demonstrated a greater risk than Portuguese women. In this study, significant differences in CACS were detected among three nations in different continents. The CACS differences paralleled the respective cardiovascular mortality rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-384
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary artery calcium
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Electron beam computed tomography
  • Ethnicity
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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