Prevalence and severity of coronary artery calcium in young persons with diabetes

Nikhil Daga, Khurram Nasir, Yasmin Hamirani, John Tayek, Philip Bach, Dong Li, Matthew J. Budoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Currently, American Diabetes Association guidelines suggest statin use among persons with diabetes mellitus aged >40 years. The presence of calcified plaque in coronary arteries is a sensitive surrogate of coronary artery disease and has been shown to be an independent predictor of mortality and cardiac events. Objective: We aimed to assess the prevalence and severity of calcified plaque in coronary arteries in patients aged <40 years with and without diabetes. Methods: We included 3723 asymptomatic patients aged <40 years who had undergone coronary calcium scanning. Clinical and demographic data were collected. Agatston score was categorized into Agatston score 0 as normal, 1 to 99 as low, 100 to 399 as intermediate, and ≥400 as severe; and statistical analysis was performed. Results: The study population consisted of 4% persons with diabetes (n= 142) and 56% men with a mean age of 35 ± 5 years. Young persons with diabetes had greater prevalence of Agatston score > 0 than persons without diabetes (43% vs 24%; P < .0001). In addition, 12% of persons with diabetes vs 2.5% of persons without diabetes had an Agatston score ≥ 100 (P < .0001). The prevalence of calcified plaque in coronary arteries was >50% in persons with diabetes aged >35 years. After taking into account risk factors, the presence of diabetes was associated with a 4-fold higher odds of an Agatston score ≥ 100 (odds ratio, 4.19; 95% CI, 2.29-7.65; P < .0001). Conclusion: Our study found that 43% of young patients with diabetes have detectable coronary atherosclerosis. Given the known clinical implications of calcified plaque in coronary arteries, future studies are needed to evaluate interventions in persons aged <40 years who exhibit subclinical atherosclerosis to reduce future cardiovascular disease events in this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-247
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of cardiovascular computed tomography
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary artery calcium
  • Diabetes
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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