Long-term changes in serum cholesterol level does not influence the progression of coronary calcification

Alexander Tenenbaum*, Joseph Shemesh, Nira Koren-Morag, Enrique Z. Fisman, Yehuda Adler, Ilan Goldenberg, David Tanne, Ilan Hay, Ehud Schwammenthal, Michael Motro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: A number of reports controversially describe the influence of cholesterol level and lipid-lowering treatment (LLT) on the progression of coronary calcium (CC). We tested the hypothesis that long-term changes in serum cholesterol (CL) would affect the progression of CC. Methods: The study population comprised 510 patients with stable angina pectoris, mean age of 63 ± 9 years. At baseline 372 patients received statin and/or fibrate (LLT group) while 138 patients did not (No-LLT at baseline group). Spiral CT every 24 months was used to track the progression of CC over a median 5.6 year follow-up. Results: CL decreased during follow-up in both groups, but more pronouncedly in patients with LLT. The changes in total calcium score (TCS) were similar in both groups (p = 0.3). Changes in CL during follow-up were not associated with CC: TCS increased by 501 ± 63 from baseline in the 1st (upper) quartile, and by 350 ± 44, 403 ± 41 and 480 ± 56 in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quartiles of CL longitudinal changes (p = 0.2), respectively. Baseline TCS and its changes were not correlated with baseline CL and its changes. New calcified lesions were diagnosed in 132 (28.2%) out of the 467 patients available for this analysis, without significant difference between groups (p = 0.4). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that only baseline TCS (p < 0.001), body mass index (p = 0.007) and age (p = 0.006) were independent predictors for the TCS changes. Conclusions: Longitudinal CL changes do not seem to have a measurable effect on the rate of progression of CC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-134
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2011


  • Cholesterol
  • Coronary calcium
  • Lipid-lowering treatment
  • Spiral computerized tomography


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