Background: The association of age with coronary plaque dynamics is not well characterized by coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA). Methods: From a multinational registry of patients who underwent serial CCTA, 1153 subjects (61 ± 5 years old, 61.1% male) were analyzed. Annualized volume changes of total, fibrous, fibrofatty, necrotic core, and dense calcification plaque components of the whole heart were compared by age quartile groups. Clinical events, a composite of all-cause death, acute coronary syndrome, and any revascularization after 30 days of the initial CCTA, were also analyzed. Random forest analysis was used to define the relative importance of age on plaque progression. Results: With a 3.3-years’ median interval between the two CCTA, the median annual volume changes of total plaque in each age quartile group was 7.8, 10.5, 10.8, and 12.1 mm3/year and for dense calcification, 2.5, 4.6, 5.4, and 7.1 mm3/year, both of which demonstrated a tendency to increase by age (p-for-trend = 0.001 and < 0.001, respectively). However, this tendency was not observed in any other plaque components. The annual volume changes of total plaque and dense calcification were also significantly different in the propensity score-matched lowest age quartile group versus the other age groups as was the composite clinical event (log-rank p = 0.003). In random forest analysis, age had comparable importance in the total plaque volume progression as other traditional factors. Conclusions: The rate of whole-heart plaque progression and dense calcification increases depending on age. Age is a significant factor in plaque growth, the importance of which is comparable to other traditional risk factors. Clinical trial registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifiers: NCT02803411.
- Computed tomography
- Coronary artery disease
- Disease progression
- atherosclerotic plaque
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine