Age- and gender-adjusted percentiles for number of calcified plaques in coronary artery calcium scanning

Frances Wang, Alan Rozanski, Damini Dey, Yoav Arnson, Heidi Gransar, John Friedman, Sean W. Hayes, Louise E.J. Thomson, Balaji Tamarappoo, Leslee J. Shaw, James K. Min, John A. Rumberger, Matthew J. Budoff, Michael D. Miedema, Michael J. Blaha, Daniel S. Berman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Age- and gender-adjusted percentiles of coronary artery calcium (CAC) score are commonly reported to compare a patient's coronary atherosclerosis burden to that of others of the same age and gender. The number of calcified plaques (numCP) detected on CAC scanning, a measure of plaque diffusivity, is associated with increased cardiovascular risk and, in the intermediate CAC range, adds to the CAC score in predicting mortality. This study aims to develop adjusted percentiles for numCP to provide a better context for understanding CAC scan findings. Methods and results: Using nonparametric modeling techniques, the distribution of numCP was analyzed in 70,320 consecutive, asymptomatic patients without prior clinically-diagnosed cardiovascular disease who were part of the Coronary Artery Calcium Consortium and supplemented by additional patients referred for clinical CAC scanning in a single center between 1998 and 2016. Nomograms for age-adjusted numCP percentiles for each gender were generated using quantile regression. The prevalence and average number of calcified coronary plaque were found to be higher in men than women. Distribution of numCP in women was found to closely mirror that of men approximately a decade younger. NumCP increased consistently across age groups in both men and women for each quantile category. Conclusions: A nomogram for age and gender-adjusted percentiles for the numCP on CAC scans has been developed in a large population of asymptomatic patients studied across multiple centers. This numCP nomogram may provide an additional tool for refining physician recommendations regarding treatment and expressing to patients how their CAC findings relate to others of similar age and gender. The numCP percentiles may also provide a meaningful way to evaluate and report the rate of progression of CAC on serial studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-324
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


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