Value of addition of coronary artery calcium to risk scores in the prediction of major cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes

Barak Zafrir, Walid Saliba, Rachel Shay Li Widder, Razi Khoury, Elad Shemesh, David A. Halon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The increased risk for cardiovascular events in diabetics is heterogeneous and contemporary clinical risk score calculators have limited predictive value. We therefore examined the additional value of coronary artery calcium score (CACS) in outcome prediction in type 2 diabetics without clinical coronary artery disease (CAD). Methods: The study examined a population-based cohort of type 2 diabetics (n = 735) aged 55–74 years, recruited between 2006 and 2008. Patients had at least one additional risk factor and no history or symptoms of CAD. Risk assessment tools included Pooled Cohort Equations (PCE) and Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 10-year risk score calculators and CACS. The occurrence of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke or cardiovascular death (MACE) was assessed over 10-years. Results: Risk score calculators predicted MACE and MI and cardiovascular death individually but not stroke. Increasing levels of CACS predicted MACE and its components independently of clinical risk scores, glycated hemoglobin and other baseline variables: hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) 2.92 (1.06–7.86), 6.53 (2.47–17.29) and 8.3 (3.28–21) for CACS of 1–100, 101–300 and > 300 Agatston units respectively, compared to CACS = 0. Addition of CACS to PCE improved discrimination of MACE [AUC of PCE 0.615 (0.555–0.676) versus PCE + CACS 0.696 (0.642–0.749); p = 0.0024]. Coronary artery calcium was absent in 24% of the study population and was associated with very low event rates even in those with high estimated risk scores. Conclusions: CACS in asymptomatic type 2 diabetics provides additional prognostic information beyond that obtained from clinical risk scores alone leading to better discrimination between risk categories.

Original languageEnglish
Article number541
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Coronary artery calcium
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Risk stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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