Background: Traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease predict the development of atherosclerosis; however, their ability to identify individual patients at risk of events is limited. Methods: Coronary artery calcium (CAC) is a specific marker of atherosclerosis. It can be visualized and measured noninvasively by various imaging techniques, which may add incremental prognostic value to conventional coronary factors. Results: The field of atherosclerosis imaging has expanded rapidly in the last decade, and technologies such as electron-beam computed tomography (EBCT) have contributed to our understanding of the prevalence of occult coronary artery disease and its consequences. Other modalities have been previously limited by the decreased temporal and spatial resolution and slower acquisition. Recent advances in helical CT (HCT) imaging with the development of multiple row detectors CT (MDCT) and improvements in the temporal resolution have renewed clinicians' interests in using this modality to evaluate CAC, although the scores obtained with MDCT may differ somewhat from those obtained with the EBCT technology. This study critically analyzes the literature comparing the utility of EBCT and HCT in detecting coronary calcium to identify individuals at increased risk for future coronary events. Conclusions: MDCT is a promising tool for coronary calcium scoring; however, more studies are needed comparing EBCT and MDCT, especially at lower CAC levels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine