(HealthDay News) — For patients without symptoms of coronary artery disease, the extent of coronary artery calcification (CAC) predicts 15-year mortality, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Leslee J. Shaw, Ph.D., from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the ability of CAC scores to predict long-term mortality in an observational cohort study. CAC scoring and binary risk factor data were collected for 9,715 patients without symptoms of coronary artery disease. The primary end point was time to all-cause mortality; patients were followed for a median of 14.6 years.

The researchers found that the CAC score was highly predictive of all-cause mortality after adjustment for risk factors for coronary artery disease (P < 0.001). For CAC scores from 0 to 1,000 or greater, overall 15-year mortality rates ranged from 3 to 28% (P < 0.001). For all-cause mortality, the relative hazard ranged from 1.68 for a CAC score of 1 to 10 (P < 0.001) to 6.26 for a score of 1,000 or greater (P < 0.001). Using cut points of less than 7.5% to 22.5% or greater, the categorical net reclassification improvement was 0.21.

Continue Reading

“Long-term estimates of mortality provide a unique opportunity to examine the value of novel biomarkers, such as CAC, in estimating important patient outcomes,” the authors write.

Several study authors and journal editors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.


  1. Shaw, LJ, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163(1):14-21; doi: 10.7326/M14-0612.