Aortic valve calcium without stenosis and mitral annulus calcium (MAC) are known to correlate with atherosclerotic risk factors. Recently, it has been reported that MAC is associated with atherosclerosis of the cardiovascular system, suggesting MAC as an atherosclerotic process by itself. Hence, the aim of the present study was to determine whether a similar association between aortic valve calcium and aortic atheroma exists. Ninety-six patients (54 men and 42 women, mean age 72 ± 12 years) with aortic valve calcium who underwent transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) formed the study group. They were compared with 92 sex- and age-matched patients without aortic valve calcium who underwent TEE for the same indications during the same period. The presence and echocardiographic features of aortic atheromas were evaluated by TEE. No differences were found between the groups in risk factors for atherosclerosis or in indications for referral for TEE. Significantly higher rates were found in the aortic valve calcium group for prevalence of aortic atheroma (86% vs 30%, p = 0.001). This significant trend was also consistent with the dimension and complexity of the atheromas. On multivariate analysis aortic valve calcium, and MAC were the only independent predictors of aortic atheroma (p = 0.0001, 0.006 respectively). We conclude that there is a significant association between the presence of aortic valve calcium and the presence and severity of aortic atheroma. Thus, aortic valve calcium may serve as a window to atherosclerosis of the aorta. Copyright (C) 2000 Excerpta Medica Inc.