Natural course of coronary artery calcium progression in Asian population with an initial score of zero

Yi Wen Shen, Yun Ju Wu, Yi Chi Hung, Chia Chi Hsiao, Shan Ho Chan, Guang Yuan Mar, Ming Ting Wu, Fu Zong Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: We aimed to investigate the natural course of coronary artery calcium progression in an Asian population with a baseline coronary artery calcium (CAC) score of zero, and to determine subclinical coronary atherosclerosis. Methods: Four hundred fifty-nine subjects with at least two CAC scans with an initial score of zero were included. CAC progression (+) was defined by the development of any CAC (i.e., CAC > 0) during subsequent CT scans. Clinical characteristics and Framingham risk profiles were also recorded. Results: Among 459 subjects, 106 (23.09%) experienced CAC progression during the average follow-up period of 5.71 ± 2.68 years. Older age, male gender, HDL-C, total cholesterol and higher Framingham risk score were independently associated with CAC progression. Framingham risk score had the better discriminative ability (AUC = 0.660) to predict CAC progression compared to the other parameters with a sensitivity of 75.24% and specificity of 53.95%. For the double zero score with coronary artery atherosclerosis prediction, older age, triglycerides, hypertension, and Framingham risk score were significantly associated with these events. Among these parameters, Framingham risk score may be a relatively acceptable parameter with high negative predictive (NPV = 96.4%) value to rule out double zero score with obstructive coronary artery atherosclerosis scenario with an optimum cut-off value of <16.9 (AUC =0.652, sensitivity of 57.69%; specificity of 68.82%). Conclusions: A baseline zero CAC score in asymptomatic Chinese population with low to intermediate risk have a low incidence for CAC progression within the 5-years period. For CAC progression prediction, Framingham risk score with the cutoff < 11.1 may help confirm subjects at low risk to improve cardiovascular risk stratification and reclassification in the field of preventive cardiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number212
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 May 2020


  • Coronary artery calcium
  • Zero score, vulnerable plaque


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