Visualizing coronary calcium is associated with improvements in adherence to statin therapy

Nove K. Kalia, Loren G. Miller, Khurram Nasir, Roger S. Blumenthal, Nisha Agrawal, Matthew J. Budoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


Background: Many patients lack motivation to control cardiovascular risk factors and clinicians have long sought ways to activate apathetic patients. Despite significant and consistent data on the benefits of lipid-lowering agents to reduce cardiovascular events, adherence and utilization of these agents remains low. We evaluated whether visualization of coronary calcium would positively affect patients' adherence rates. Methods: We evaluated patients who underwent electron beam tomography (EBT) coronary calcium evaluation at least 1 year prior with a survey questioning them about health behaviors. Patients filled out baseline and follow-up questionnaires relating to lifestyle modifications, including statin utilization, diet, exercise, tobacco cessation and vitamin/antioxidant utilization. Results: The study population consisted of 505 individuals on statin therapy on baseline who were followed for a mean of 3 ± 2 years. Overall the statin compliance was lowest (44%) among those with CAC score in the first quartile (0-30), whereas 91% of individuals with baseline CAC score in the fourth quartile (≥526) adhered to statin therapy. In multivariable analysis, after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors, age, and gender, higher baseline CAC scores were strongly associated with adherence to statin therapy. Conclusions: In addition to risk stratification for the asymptomatic person, patients visualizing coronary artery calcium may improve utilization and adherence to lipid-lowering therapy. Outcome studies and randomized trials need to be done to quantify the true value and cost-effectiveness of this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-399
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Adherence
  • Computed tomography
  • Coronary artery calcification
  • Electron beam
  • Statin therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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