Publications by authors named "Leslee J Shaw"

640 Publications

Plaque progression: Where, why, and how fast? A review of what we have learned from the analysis of patient data from the PARADIGM registry.

J Cardiovasc Comput Tomogr 2021 Nov 14. Epub 2021 Nov 14.

University of British Columbia and Department of Radiology, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada.

Ischemic heart disease is the most common cause of mortality worldwide. The pathophysiology of myocardial infarction relates to temporal changes of atherosclerotic plaque culminating in plaque rupture, erosion or hemorrhage and the subsequent thrombotic response. Coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA) provides the ability to visualize and quantify plaque, and plaque progression can be measured on a per-patient basis by comparing findings of serial CCTA. The Progression of AtheRosclerotic PlAque DetermIned by Computed TomoGraphic Angiography IMaging (PARADIGM) registry was established with the objective of identifying patterns of plaque progression in a large population. The registry comprises over 2000 patients with multiple CCTA scans performed at least two years apart. Unlike previous CCTA registries, a semi-automated plaque quantification technique permitting detailed analysis of plaque progression was performed on all patients with interpretable studies. Since the registry was established, 19 peer-reviewed publications were identified, and all are reviewed and summarized in this article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcct.2021.11.004DOI Listing
November 2021

Mean Versus Peak Coronary Calcium Density on Non-Contrast CT: Calcium Scoring and ASCVD Risk Prediction.

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging 2021 Nov 6. Epub 2021 Nov 6.

Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Objectives: This study sought to assess the relationship between mean vs peak calcified plaque density and their impact on calculating coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores and to compare the corresponding differential prediction of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality.

Background: The Agatston CAC score is quantified per lesion as the product of plaque area and a 4-level categorical peak calcium density factor. However, mean calcium density may more accurately measure the heterogenous mixture of lipid-rich, fibrous, and calcified plaque reflective of ASCVD risk.

Methods: We included 10,373 individuals from the CAC Consortium who had CAC >0 and per-vessel measurements of peak calcium density factor and mean calcium density. Area under the curve and continuous net reclassification improvement analyses were performed for CHD and ASCVD mortality to compare the predictive abilities of mean calcium density vs peak calcium density factor when calculating the Agatston CAC score.

Results: Participants were on average 53.4 years of age, 24.4% were women, and the median CAC score was 68 Agatston units. The average values for mean calcium density and peak calcium density factor were 210 ± 50 Hounsfield units and 3.1 ± 0.5, respectively. Individuals younger than 50 years of age and/or those with a total plaque area <100 mm had the largest differences between the peak and mean density measures. Among persons with CAC 1-99, the use of mean calcium density resulted in a larger improvement in ASCVD mortality net reclassification improvement (NRI) (NRI = 0.49; P < 0.001 vs. NRI = 0.18; P = 0.08) and CHD mortality discrimination (Δ area under the curve (AUC) = +0.169 vs +0.036; P < 0.001) compared with peak calcium density factor. Neither peak nor mean calcium density improved mortality prediction at CAC scores >100.

Conclusion: Mean and peak calcium density may differentially describe plaque composition early in the atherosclerotic process. Mean calcium density performs better than peak calcium density factor when combined with plaque area for ASCVD mortality prediction among persons with Agatston CAC 1-99.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmg.2021.09.018DOI Listing
November 2021

Prognostic significance of plaque location in non-obstructive coronary artery disease: from the CONFIRM registry.

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging 2021 Nov 15. Epub 2021 Nov 15.

Department of Imaging, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048 USA.

Aim: Obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) in proximal coronary segments is associated with a poor prognosis. However, the relative importance of plaque location regarding the risk for major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in patients with non-obstructive CAD has not been well defined.

Methods And Results: From the Coronary CT Angiography Evaluation for Clinical Outcomes: An International Multicenter (CONFIRM) registry, 4644 patients without obstructive CAD were included in this study. The degree of stenosis was classified as 0 (no) and 1-49% (non-obstructive). Proximal involvement was defined as any plaque present in the left main or the proximal segment of the left anterior descending artery, left circumflex artery, and right coronary artery. Extensive CAD was defined as segment involvement score of >4. During a median follow-up of 5.2 years (interquartile range 4.1-6.0), 340 (7.3%) MACE occurred. Within the non-obstructive CAD group (n = 2065), proximal involvement was observed in 1767 (85.6%) cases. When compared to non-obstructive CAD patients without proximal involvement, those with proximal involvement had an increased MACE risk (log-rank P = 0.033). Multivariate Cox analysis showed when compared to patients with no CAD, proximal non-obstructive CAD was associated with increased MACE risk [hazard ratio (HR) 1.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.47-2.45, P < 0.001] after adjusting for extensive CAD and conventional cardiovascular risk factors; however, non-proximal non-obstructive CAD did not increase MACE risk (HR 1.26, 95% CI 0.79-2.01, P = 0.339).

Conclusions: Independent of plaque extent, proximal coronary involvement was associated with increased MACE risk in patients with non-obstructive CAD. The plaque location information by coronary computed tomography angiography may provide additional risk prediction over CAD extent in patients with non-obstructive CAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjci/jeab223DOI Listing
November 2021

Coronary artery calcium is associated with long-term mortality from lung cancer: Results from the Coronary Artery Calcium Consortium.

Atherosclerosis 2021 Oct 18. Epub 2021 Oct 18.

Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States.

Background And Aims: Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores have been shown to be associated with CVD and cancer mortality. The use of CAC scores for overall and lung cancer mortality risk prediction for patients in the Coronary Artery Calcium Consortium was analyzed.

Methods: We included 55,943 patients aged 44-84 years without known heart disease from the CAC Consortium. There were 1,088 cancer deaths, among which 231 were lung cancer, identified by death certificates with a mean follow-up of 12.2 ± 3.9 years. Fine-and-Gray competing-risk regression was used for overall and lung cancer-specific mortality, accounting for the competing risk of CVD death and after adjustment for CVD risk factors. Subdistribution hazard ratios (SHR) were reported.

Results: The mean age of all patients was 57.1 ± 8.6 years, 34.9% were women, and 89.6% were white. Overall, CAC was strongly associated with cancer mortality. Lung cancer mortality increased with increasing CAC scores, with rates per 1000-person years of 0.2 (95% CI: 0.1-0.3) for CAC = 0 and 0.8 (95% CI: 0.6-1.0) for CAC ≥400. Compared with CAC = 0, hazards were increased for those with CAC ≥400 for lung cancer mortality [SHR: 1.7 (95% CI: 1.2-2.6)], which was driven by women [SHR: 2.3 (95% CI: 1.1-4.8)], but not significantly increased for men. Risks were higher in those with positive smoking history [SHR: 2.2 (95% CI: 1.2-4.2)], with associations driven by women [SHR: 4.0 (95% CI: 1.4-11.5)].

Conclusions: CAC scores were associated with increased risks for lung cancer mortality, with strongest associations for current and former smokers, especially in women. Used in conjunction with other clinical variables, our data pinpoint a potential synergistic use of CAC scanning beyond CVD risk assessment for identification of high-risk lung cancer screening candidates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2021.10.007DOI Listing
October 2021

2021 AHA/ACC/ASE/CHEST/SAEM/SCCT/SCMR Guideline for the Evaluation and Diagnosis of Chest Pain: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Joint Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2021 Nov 28;78(22):e187-e285. Epub 2021 Oct 28.

Aim: This clinical practice guideline for the evaluation and diagnosis of chest pain provides recommendations and algorithms for clinicians to assess and diagnose chest pain in adult patients.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted from November 11, 2017, to May 1, 2020, encompassing randomized and nonrandomized trials, observational studies, registries, reviews, and other evidence conducted on human subjects that were published in English from PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Collaboration, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports, and other relevant databases. Additional relevant studies, published through April 2021, were also considered.

Structure: Chest pain is a frequent cause for emergency department visits in the United States. The "2021 AHA/ACC/ASE/CHEST/SAEM/SCCT/SCMR Guideline for the Evaluation and Diagnosis of Chest Pain" provides recommendations based on contemporary evidence on the assessment and evaluation of chest pain. This guideline presents an evidence-based approach to risk stratification and the diagnostic workup for the evaluation of chest pain. Cost-value considerations in diagnostic testing have been incorporated, and shared decision-making with patients is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2021.07.053DOI Listing
November 2021

2021 AHA/ACC/ASE/CHEST/SAEM/SCCT/SCMR Guideline for the Evaluation and Diagnosis of Chest Pain: Executive Summary: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Joint Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2021 Nov 28;78(22):2218-2261. Epub 2021 Oct 28.

Aim: This executive summary of the clinical practice guideline for the evaluation and diagnosis of chest pain provides recommendations and algorithms for clinicians to assess and diagnose chest pain in adult patients.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted from November 11, 2017, to May 1, 2020, encompassing studies, reviews, and other evidence conducted on human subjects that were published in English from PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Collaboration, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports, and other relevant databases. Additional relevant studies, published through April 2021, were also considered.

Structure: Chest pain is a frequent cause for emergency department visits in the United States. The "2021 AHA/ACC/ASE/CHEST/SAEM/SCCT/SCMR Guideline for the Evaluation and Diagnosis of Chest Pain" provides recommendations based on contemporary evidence on the assessment and evaluation of chest pain. These guidelines present an evidence-based approach to risk stratification and the diagnostic workup for the evaluation of chest pain. Cost-value considerations in diagnostic testing have been incorporated and shared decision-making with patients is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2021.07.052DOI Listing
November 2021

Comparison of coronary atherosclerotic plaque progression in East Asians and Caucasians by serial coronary computed tomographic angiography: A PARADIGM substudy.

J Cardiovasc Comput Tomogr 2021 Oct 14. Epub 2021 Oct 14.

Division of Cardiology, Severance Cardiovascular Hospital, Integrative Cardiovascular Imaging Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.

Objectives: To investigate potential differences in plaque progression (PP) between in East Asians and Caucasians as well as to determine clinical predictors of PP in East Asians.

Background: Studies have demonstrated differences in cardiovascular risk factors as well as plaque burden and progression across different ethnic groups.

Methods: The study comprised 955 East Asians (age 60.4 ​± ​9.3 years, 50.9% males) and 279 Caucasians (age 60.4 ​± ​8.6 years, 74.5% males) who underwent two serial coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) studies over a period of at least 24 months. Patients were enrolled and analyzed from the PARADIGM (Progression of AtheRosclerotic PlAque DetermIned by Computed TomoGraphic Angiography IMaging) registry. After propensity-score matching, plaque composition and progression were compared between East Asian and Caucasian patients. Within East Asians, the plaque progression group (defined as plaque volume at follow-up CCTA minus plaque volume at baseline CCTA> 0) was compared to the no PP group to determine clinical predictors for PP in East Asians.

Results: In the matched cohort, baseline volumes of total plaque as well as all plaque subtypes were comparable. There was a trend towards increased annualized plaque progression among East Asians compared to Caucasians (18.3 ​± ​24.7 ​mm/year vs 16.6 ​mm/year, p ​= ​0.054). Among East Asians, 736 (77%) had PP. East Asians with PP had more clinical risk factors and higher plaque burden at baseline (normalized total plaque volume of144.9 ​± ​233.3 ​mm vs 36.6 ​± ​84.2 ​mm for PP and no PP, respectively, p ​< ​0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that baseline normalized plaque volume (OR: 1.10, CI: 1.10-1.30, p ​< ​0.001), age (OR: 1.02, CI: 1.00-1.04, p ​= ​0.023) and body mass index (OR: 2.24, CI: 1.01-1.13, p ​= ​0.024) were all predictors of PP in East Asians. Clinical events, driven mainly by percutaneous coronary intervention, were higher among the PP group with a total of 124 (16.8%) events compared to 22 (10.0%) in the no PP group (p ​= ​0.014).

Conclusion: East Asians and Caucasians had comparable plaque composition and progression. Among East Asians, the PP group had a higher baseline plaque burden which was associated with greater PP and increased clinical events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcct.2021.09.012DOI Listing
October 2021

The U.S. multi-societal chest pain guideline - A quick look into a long-awaited document.

J Cardiovasc Comput Tomogr 2021 Oct 30. Epub 2021 Oct 30.

University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcct.2021.10.010DOI Listing
October 2021

2021 AHA/ACC/ASE/CHEST/SAEM/SCCT/SCMR Guideline for the Evaluation and Diagnosis of Chest Pain: Executive Summary: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Joint Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Circulation 2021 Oct 28:CIR0000000000001030. Epub 2021 Oct 28.

ACC/AHA Representative.

Aim: This executive summary of the clinical practice guideline for the evaluation and diagnosis of chest pain provides recommendations and algorithms for clinicians to assess and diagnose chest pain in adult patients.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted from November 11, 2017, to May 1, 2020, encompassing studies, reviews, and other evidence conducted on human subjects that were published in English from PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Collaboration, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports, and other relevant databases. Additional relevant studies, published through April 2021, were also considered. Structure: Chest pain is a frequent cause for emergency department visits in the United States. The "2021 AHA/ACC/ASE/CHEST/SAEM/SCCT/SCMR Guideline for the Evaluation and Diagnosis of Chest Pain" provides recommendations based on contemporary evidence on the assessment and evaluation of chest pain. These guidelines present an evidence-based approach to risk stratification and the diagnostic workup for the evaluation of chest pain. Cost-value considerations in diagnostic testing have been incorporated and shared decision-making with patients is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001030DOI Listing
October 2021

2021 AHA/ACC/ASE/CHEST/SAEM/SCCT/SCMR Guideline for the Evaluation and Diagnosis of Chest Pain: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Joint Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Circulation 2021 Oct 28:CIR0000000000001029. Epub 2021 Oct 28.

ACC/AHA Representative.

Aim: This clinical practice guideline for the evaluation and diagnosis of chest pain provides recommendations and algorithms for clinicians to assess and diagnose chest pain in adult patients.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted from November 11, 2017, to May 1, 2020, encompassing randomized and nonrandomized trials, observational studies, registries, reviews, and other evidence conducted on human subjects that were published in English from PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Collaboration, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports, and other relevant databases. Additional relevant studies, published through April 2021, were also considered. Structure: Chest pain is a frequent cause for emergency department visits in the United States. The "2021 AHA/ACC/ASE/CHEST/SAEM/SCCT/SCMR Guideline for the Evaluation and Diagnosis of Chest Pain" provides recommendations based on contemporary evidence on the assessment and evaluation of chest pain. This guideline presents an evidence-based approach to risk stratification and the diagnostic workup for the evaluation of chest pain. Cost-value considerations in diagnostic testing have been incorporated, and shared decision-making with patients is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001029DOI Listing
October 2021

Association of Age With the Diagnostic Value of Coronary Artery Calcium Score for Ruling Out Coronary Stenosis in Symptomatic Patients.

JAMA Cardiol 2021 Oct 27. Epub 2021 Oct 27.

Department of Cardiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Importance: The diagnostic value is unclear of a 0 coronary artery calcium (CAC) score to rule out obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) and near-term clinical events across different age groups.

Objective: To assess the diagnostic value of a CAC score of 0 for reducing the likelihood of obstructive CAD and to assess the implications of such a CAC score and obstructive CAD across different age groups.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cohort study obtained data from the Western Denmark Heart Registry and had a median follow-up time of 4.3 years. Included patients were aged 18 years or older who underwent computed tomography angiography (CTA) between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2017, because of symptoms that were suggestive of CAD. Data analysis was performed from April 5 to July 7, 2021.

Exposures: Obstructive CAD, which was defined as 50% or more luminal stenosis.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Proportion of individuals with obstructive CAD who had a CAC score of 0. Risk-adjusted diagnostic likelihood ratios were used to assess the diagnostic value of a CAC score of 0 for reducing the likelihood of obstructive CAD beyond clinical variables. Risk factors associated with myocardial infarction and death were estimated.

Results: A total of 23 759 symptomatic patients, of whom 12 771 (54%) had a CAC score of 0, were included. This cohort had a median (IQR) age of 58 (49-65) years and was primarily composed of women (13 160 [55%]). Overall, the prevalence of obstructive CAD was relatively low across all age groups, ranging from 3% (39 of 1278 patients) in those who were younger than 40 years to 8% (52 of 619) among those who were 70 years or older. In patients with obstructive CAD, 14% (725 of 5043) had a CAC score of 0, and the prevalence varied across age groups from 58% (39 of 68) among those who were younger than 40 years, 34% (192 of 562) among those aged 40 to 49 years, 18% (268 of 1486) among those aged 50 to 59 years, 9% (174 of 1963) among those aged 60 to 69 years, to 5% (52 of 964) among those who were 70 years or older. The added diagnostic value of a CAC score of 0 decreased at a younger age, with a risk factor-adjusted diagnostic likelihood ratio of a CAC score of 0 ranging from 0.68 (approximately 32% lower likelihood of obstructive CAD than expected) in those who were younger than 40 years to 0.18 (approximately 82% lower likelihood than expected) in those who were 70 years or older. The presence of obstructive vs nonobstructive CAD among those with a CAC score of 0 was associated with a multivariable adjusted hazard ratio of 1.51 (95% CI, 0.98-2.33) for myocardial infarction and all-cause death; however, this hazard ratio varied from 1.80 (95% CI, 1.02-3.19) in those who were younger than 60 years to 1.24 (95% CI, 0.64-2.39) in those who were 60 years or older.

Conclusions And Relevance: This cohort study found that the diagnostic value of a CAC score of 0 to rule out obstructive CAD beyond clinical variables was dependent on age, with the added diagnostic value being smaller for younger patients. In symptomatic patients who were younger than 60 years, a sizable proportion of obstructive CAD occurred among those without CAC and was associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction and all-cause death.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2021.4406DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8552116PMC
October 2021

Plaque erosion masquerading as spontaneous coronary artery dissection: A case of sudden coronary death.

J Cardiovasc Comput Tomogr 2021 Oct 8. Epub 2021 Oct 8.

Dalio Institute of Cardiovascular Imaging, Department of Radiology, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

The three most common mechanisms of thrombosis in acute coronary syndrome (ACS) are plaque rupture, plaque erosion and calcified nodule. Plaque erosion occurs over an intact fibrous cap, commonly over pathological intimal thickening (PIT) rather than thin cap fibroatheroma (TCFA), and is more common among younger and female patients. A very rare mechanism of ACS is spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), resulting from the formation of an intramural hematoma and/or intimal disruption. We present a case of sudden coronary death with the appearance of SCAD on coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcct.2021.10.001DOI Listing
October 2021

Coronary Calcium to Rule Out Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease in Patients With Acute Chest Pain.

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging 2021 Oct 7. Epub 2021 Oct 7.

Division of Health Equity and Disparities Research, Center for Outcomes Research, The Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston, Texas, USA; Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Prevention and Wellness, Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, Houston, Texas, USA; Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Center for Cardiovascular Computational and Precision Health (C3-PH), Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, Houston, Texas, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the ability of coronary artery calcium (CAC) as an initial diagnostic tool to rule out obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) in a very large registry of patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with acute chest pain (CP) who were at low to intermediate risk for acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Background: It is not yet well established whether CAC can be used to rule out obstructive CAD in the ED setting.

Methods: We included patients from the Baptist Health South Florida Chest Pain Registry presenting to the ED with CP at low to intermediate risk for ACS (Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction risk score ≤2, normal/nondiagnostic electrocardiography, and troponin levels) who underwent CAC and coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) procedures for evaluation of ACS. To assess the diagnostic accuracy of CAC testing to diagnose obstructive CAD and identify the need for coronary revascularization during hospitalization, we estimated sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive values (PPV), and negative predictive values (NPV).

Results: Our study included 5,192 patients (mean age: 53.5 ± 10.8 years; 46% male; 62% Hispanic). Overall, 2,902 patients (56%) had CAC = 0, of which 135 (4.6%) had CAD (114 [3.9%] nonobstructive and 21 [0.7%] obstructive). Among those with CAC >0, 23% had obstructive CAD. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV of CAC testing to diagnose obstructive CAD were 96.2%, 62.4%, 22.4%, and 99.3%, respectively. The NPV for identifying those who needed revascularization was 99.6%. Among patients with CAC = 0, 11 patients (0.4%) underwent revascularization, and the number needed to test with CCTA to detect 1 patient who required revascularization was 264.

Conclusions: In a large population presenting to ED with CP at low to intermediate risk, CAC = 0 was common. CAC = 0 ruled out obstructive CAD and revascularization in more than 99% of the patients, and <5% with CAC = 0 had any CAD. Integrating CAC testing very early in CP evaluation may be effective in appropriate triage of patients by identifying individuals who can safely defer additional testing and more invasive procedures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmg.2021.06.027DOI Listing
October 2021

The evolving role of coronary computed tomography in understanding sex differences in coronary atherosclerosis.

J Cardiovasc Comput Tomogr 2021 Oct 8. Epub 2021 Oct 8.

Division of Cardiology, The Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address:

Our understanding of sex differences in subclinical atherosclerosis and plaque composition and characteristics have greatly improved with the use of coronary computed tomography (CCTA) over the past years. CCTA has emerged as an important frontline diagnostic test for women, especially as we continue to understand the impact of non-obstructive atherosclerosis as well as diffuse, high risk plaque as precursors of acute cardiac events in women. Based on its ability to identify complex plaque morphology such as low attenuation plaque, high risk non calcified plaque, positive remodeling, fibrous cap, CCTA can be used to assess plaque characteristics. CCTA can avoid false positive of other imaging studies, if included earlier in assessment of ischemic symptoms. In the contemporary clinical setting, CCTA will prove useful in further understanding and managing cardiovascular disease in women and those without traditional obstructive coronary disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcct.2021.09.004DOI Listing
October 2021

Modeling the Recommended Age for Initiating Coronary Artery Calcium Testing Among At-Risk Young Adults.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2021 Oct;78(16):1573-1583

Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Background: There are currently no recommendations guiding when best to perform coronary artery calcium (CAC) scanning among young adults to identify those susceptible for developing premature atherosclerosis.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the ideal age at which a first CAC scan has the highest utility according to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk factor profile.

Methods: We included 22,346 CAC Consortium participants aged 30-50 years who underwent noncontrast computed tomography. Sex-specific equations were derived from multivariable logistic modeling to estimate the expected probability of CAC >0 according to age and the presence of ASCVD risk factors.

Results: Participants were on average 43.5 years of age, 25% were women, and 34% had CAC >0, in whom the median CAC score was 20. Compared with individuals without risk factors, those with diabetes developed CAC 6.4 years earlier on average, whereas smoking, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and a family history of coronary heart disease were individually associated with developing CAC 3.3-4.3 years earlier. Using a testing yield of 25% for detecting CAC >0, the optimal age for a potential first scan would be at 36.8 years (95% CI: 35.5-38.4 years) in men and 50.3 years (95% CI: 48.7-52.1 years) in women with diabetes, and 42.3 years (95% CI: 41.0-43.9 years) in men and 57.6 years (95% CI: 56.0-59.5 years) in women without risk factors.

Conclusions: Our derived risk equations among health-seeking young adults enriched in ASCVD risk factors inform the expected prevalence of CAC >0 and can be used to determine an appropriate age to initiate clinical CAC testing to identify individuals most susceptible for early/premature atherosclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2021.08.019DOI Listing
October 2021

Imaging Plaque: What Is the Value Over Stenosis Alone?

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging 2021 10;14(10):2055-2057

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmg.2021.09.001DOI Listing
October 2021

Association of coronary artery calcium score with qualitatively and quantitatively assessed adverse plaque on coronary CT angiography in the SCOT-HEART trial.

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging 2021 Sep 16. Epub 2021 Sep 16.

BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, Chancellor's Building, 49 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh, EH164SB, UK.

Aims: Coronary artery calcification is a marker of cardiovascular risk, but its association with qualitatively and quantitatively assessed plaque subtypes is unknown.

Methods And Results: In this post-hoc analysis, computed tomography (CT) images and 5-year clinical outcomes were assessed in SCOT-HEART trial participants. Agatston coronary artery calcium score (CACS) was measured on non-contrast CT and was stratified as zero (0 Agatston units, AU), minimal (1-9 AU), low (10-99 AU), moderate (100-399 AU), high (400-999 AU), and very high (≥1000 AU). Adverse plaques were investigated by qualitative (visual categorization of positive remodelling, low-attenuation plaque, spotty calcification, and napkin ring sign) and quantitative (calcified, non-calcified, low-attenuation, and total plaque burden; Autoplaque) assessments. Of 1769 patients, 36% had a zero, 9% minimal, 20% low, 17% moderate, 10% high, and 8% very high CACS. Amongst patients with a zero CACS, 14% had non-obstructive disease, 2% had obstructive disease, 2% had visually assessed adverse plaques, and 13% had low-attenuation plaque burden >4%. Non-calcified and low-attenuation plaque burden increased between patients with zero, minimal, and low CACS (P < 0.001), but there was no statistically significant difference between those with medium, high, and very high CACS. Myocardial infarction occurred in 41 patients, 10% of whom had zero CACS. CACS >1000 AU and low-attenuation plaque burden were the only predictors of myocardial infarction, independent of obstructive disease, and 10-year cardiovascular risk score.

Conclusion: In patients with stable chest pain, zero CACS is associated with a good but not perfect prognosis, and CACS cannot rule out obstructive coronary artery disease, non-obstructive plaque, or adverse plaque phenotypes, including low-attenuation plaque.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjci/jeab135DOI Listing
September 2021

Outcomes in the ISCHEMIA Trial Based on Coronary Artery Disease and Ischemia Severity.

Circulation 2021 Sep 9;144(13):1024-1038. Epub 2021 Sep 9.

New York Universty Grossman School of Medicine (H.R.R.., S.B., J.D.N., J.S.H.).

Background: The ISCHEMIA trial (International Study of Comparative Health Effectiveness With Medical and Invasive Approaches) postulated that patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) and moderate or severe ischemia would benefit from revascularization. We investigated the relationship between severity of CAD and ischemia and trial outcomes, overall and by management strategy.

Methods: In total, 5179 patients with moderate or severe ischemia were randomized to an initial invasive or conservative management strategy. Blinded, core laboratory-interpreted coronary computed tomographic angiography was used to assess anatomic eligibility for randomization. Extent and severity of CAD were classified with the modified Duke Prognostic Index (n=2475, 48%). Ischemia severity was interpreted by independent core laboratories (nuclear, echocardiography, magnetic resonance imaging, exercise tolerance testing, n=5105, 99%). We compared 4-year event rates across subgroups defined by severity of ischemia and CAD. The primary end point for this analysis was all-cause mortality. Secondary end points were myocardial infarction (MI), cardiovascular death or MI, and the trial primary end point (cardiovascular death, MI, or hospitalization for unstable angina, heart failure, or resuscitated cardiac arrest).

Results: Relative to mild/no ischemia, neither moderate ischemia nor severe ischemia was associated with increased mortality (moderate ischemia hazard ratio [HR], 0.89 [95% CI, 0.61-1.30]; severe ischemia HR, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.57-1.21]; =0.33). Nonfatal MI rates increased with worsening ischemia severity (HR for moderate ischemia, 1.20 [95% CI, 0.86-1.69] versus mild/no ischemia; HR for severe ischemia, 1.37 [95% CI, 0.98-1.91]; =0.04 for trend, =NS after adjustment for CAD). Increasing CAD severity was associated with death (HR, 2.72 [95% CI, 1.06-6.98]) and MI (HR, 3.78 [95% CI, 1.63-8.78]) for the most versus least severe CAD subgroup. Ischemia severity did not identify a subgroup with treatment benefit on mortality, MI, the trial primary end point, or cardiovascular death or MI. In the most severe CAD subgroup (n=659), the 4-year rate of cardiovascular death or MI was lower in the invasive strategy group (difference, 6.3% [95% CI, 0.2%-12.4%]), but 4-year all-cause mortality was similar.

Conclusions: Ischemia severity was not associated with increased risk after adjustment for CAD severity. More severe CAD was associated with increased risk. Invasive management did not lower all-cause mortality at 4 years in any ischemia or CAD subgroup. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01471522.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.049755DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8478888PMC
September 2021

Reduction of cardiac imaging tests during the COVID-19 pandemic: The case of Italy. Findings from the IAEA Non-invasive Cardiology Protocol Survey on COVID-19 (INCAPS COVID).

Int J Cardiol 2021 10 31;341:100-106. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

Division of Human Health, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.

Background: In early 2020, COVID-19 massively hit Italy, earlier and harder than any other European country. This caused a series of strict containment measures, aimed at blocking the spread of the pandemic. Healthcare delivery was also affected when resources were diverted towards care of COVID-19 patients, including intensive care wards.

Aim Of The Study: The aim is assessing the impact of COVID-19 on cardiac imaging in Italy, compare to the Rest of Europe (RoE) and the World (RoW).

Methods: A global survey was conducted in May-June 2020 worldwide, through a questionnaire distributed online. The survey covered three periods: March and April 2020, and March 2019. Data from 52 Italian centres, a subset of the 909 participating centres from 108 countries, were analyzed.

Results: In Italy, volumes decreased by 67% in March 2020, compared to March 2019, as opposed to a significantly lower decrease (p < 0.001) in RoE and RoW (41% and 40%, respectively). A further decrease from March 2020 to April 2020 summed up to 76% for the North, 77% for the Centre and 86% for the South. When compared to the RoE and RoW, this further decrease from March 2020 to April 2020 in Italy was significantly less (p = 0.005), most likely reflecting the earlier effects of the containment measures in Italy, taken earlier than anywhere else in the West.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic massively hit Italy and caused a disruption of healthcare services, including cardiac imaging studies. This raises concern about the medium- and long-term consequences for the high number of patients who were denied timely diagnoses and the subsequent lifesaving therapies and procedures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2021.08.044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8406540PMC
October 2021

Measurement of compensatory arterial remodelling over time with serial coronary computed tomography angiography and 3D metrics.

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging 2021 Sep 1. Epub 2021 Sep 1.

Division of Cardiology, Severance Cardiovascular Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Yonsei University Health System, Seoul, South Korea.

Aims: The magnitude of alterations in which coronary arteries remodel and narrow over time is not well understood. We aimed to examine changes in coronary arterial remodelling and luminal narrowing by three-dimensional (3D) metrics from serial coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA).

Methods And Results: From a multicentre registry of patients with suspected coronary artery disease who underwent clinically indicated serial CCTA (median interscan interval = 3.3 years), we quantitatively measured coronary plaque, vessel, and lumen volumes on both scans. Primary outcome was the per-segment change in coronary vessel and lumen volume from a change in plaque volume, focusing on arterial remodelling. Multivariate generalized estimating equations including statins were calculated comparing associations between groups of baseline percent atheroma volume (PAV) and location within the coronary artery tree. From 1245 patients (mean age 61 ± 9 years, 39% women), a total of 5721 segments were analysed. For each 1.00 mm3 increase in plaque volume, the vessel volume increased by 0.71 mm3 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63 to 0.79 mm3, P < 0.001] with a corresponding reduction in lumen volume by 0.29 mm3 (95% CI -0.37 to -0.21 mm3, P < 0.001). Serial 3D arterial remodelling and luminal narrowing was similar in segments with low and high baseline PAV (P ≥ 0.496). No differences were observed between left main and non-left main segments, proximal and distal segments and side branch and non-side branch segments (P ≥ 0.281).

Conclusions: Over time, atherosclerotic coronary plaque reveals prominent outward arterial remodelling that co-occurs with modest luminal narrowing. These findings provide additional insight into the compensatory mechanisms involved in the progression of coronary atherosclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjci/jeab138DOI Listing
September 2021

Implication of thoracic aortic calcification over coronary calcium score regarding the 2018 ACC/AHA Multisociety cholesterol guideline: results from the CAC Consortium.

Am J Prev Cardiol 2021 Dec 8;8:100232. Epub 2021 Aug 8.

Department of Imaging and Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, United States.

Objective: TAC is associated with an increased atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk, but it is unclear how to interpret thoracic aortic calcification (TAC) findings in conjunction with ASCVD risk and coronary artery calcium (CAC) score according to 2018 ACC/AHA Multisociety cholesterol guidelines. We evaluate the incremental value of thoracic aortic calcification TAC over CAC for predicting and reclassifying ASCVD mortality risk.

Method: The study included 30,630 asymptomatic individuals (mean age: 55 ± 8 years, male: 64%) from the CAC Consortium. TAC was categorized as TAC 0, 1-300, and >300. Patients were categorized as low (<5%), borderline (5-7.5%), intermediate (7.5-20%), or high (≥20%) 10-year ASCVD risk according to the Pooled Cohorts Equation. In the intermediate risk group, the utility of TAC beyond CAC for statin eligibility was assessed according to the guideline. CAC was categorized as CAC=0 (no statin), CAC 1-100 (favors statin), or CAC>100 (initiate stain).

Results: During the median 11.2 years (IQR 9.2-12.4) follow-up, 345 (1.1%) CVD deaths occurred. TAC>300 was associated with increased CVD mortality after adjusting for ASCVD risk and CAC (HR:4.72, 95% CI: 3.39-6.57, p<0.001). In borderline and intermediate risk groups, TAC improved discrimination when added to a model included ASCVD risk and CAC (C-statistic: 0.77 vs. 0.68 in borderline group; 0.67 vs. 0.63 in intermediate group, both  < 0.05). The addition of TAC over CAC improved risk reclassification in borderline, intermediate and high-risk groups (categorical net reclassification index: 0.40, 0.29, and 0.49, respectively, all  < 0.001). Of intermediate risk participants for whom consideration of CAC was recommended based on the guideline, TAC >300 was associated with an increased CVD mortality risk across each statin eligibility group (all  < 0.001, compared to TAC 0).

Conclusion: TAC was independently associated with CVD death. Among individuals with borderline or intermediate ASCVD risk, a TAC threshold of 300 may provide added prognostic and reclassification value beyond the current guideline-based approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpc.2021.100232DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8385171PMC
December 2021

Plaque Character and Progression According to the Location of Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaque.

Am J Cardiol 2021 11 29;158:15-22. Epub 2021 Aug 29.

Cardiovascular Imaging Unit, SDN IRCCS, Naples, Italy.

Although acute coronary syndrome culprit lesions occur more frequently in the proximal coronary artery, whether the proximal clustering of high-risk plaque is reflected in earlier-stage atherosclerosis remains unclarified. We evaluated the longitudinal distribution of stable atherosclerotic lesions on coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) in 1,478 patients (mean age, 61 years; men, 58%) enrolled from a prospective multinational registry of consecutive patients undergoing serial CCTA. Of 3,202 coronary artery lesions identified, 2,140 left lesions were classified (based on the minimal lumen diameter location) into left main (LM, n = 128), proximal (n = 739), and other (n = 1,273), and 1,062 right lesions were classified into proximal (n = 355) and other (n = 707). Plaque volume (PV) was the highest in proximal lesions (median, 26.1 mm), followed by LM (20.6 mm) and other lesions (15.0 mm, p <0.001), for left lesions, and was lager in proximal (25.8 mm) than in other lesions (15.2 mm, p <0.001) for right lesions. On both sides, proximally located lesions tended to have greater necrotic core and fibrofatty components than other lesions (left: LM, 10.6%; proximal, 5.8%; other, 3.4% of the total PV, p <0.001; right: proximal, 8.4%; other 3.1%, p <0.001), with less calcified plaque component (left: LM, 18.3%; proximal, 30.3%; other, 37.7%, p <0.001; right: proximal, 23.3%, other, 36.6%, p <0.001), and tended to progress rapidly (adjusted odds ratios: left: LM, reference; proximal, 0.95, p = 0.803; other, 0.64, p = 0.017; right: proximal, reference; other, 0.52, p <0.001). Proximally located plaques were larger, with more risky composition, and progressed more rapidly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2021.07.040DOI Listing
November 2021

Association of Tube Voltage With Plaque Composition on Coronary CT Angiography: Results From Paradigm Registry.

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging 2021 Aug 11. Epub 2021 Aug 11.

Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Objectives: This study sought to investigate the impact of low tube voltage scanning heterogeneity of coronary luminal attenuation on plaque quantification and characterization with coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA).

Background: The impact of low tube voltage and coronary luminal attenuation on quantitative coronary plaque remains uncertain.

Methods: A total of 1,236 consecutive patients (age: 60 ± 9 years; 41% female) who underwent serial CCTA at an interval of ≥2 years were included from an international registry. Patients with prior revascularization or nonanalyzable coronary CTAs were excluded. Total coronary plaque volume was assessed and subclassified based on specific Hounsfield unit (HU) threshold: necrotic core, fibrofatty plaque, and fibrous plaque and dense calcium. Luminal attenuation was measured in the aorta.

Results: With increasing luminal HU (<350, 350-500, and >500 HU), percent calcified plaque was increased (16%, 27%, and 40% in the median; P < 0.001), and fibrofatty plaque (26%, 13%, and 4%; P < 0.001) and necrotic core (1.6%, 0.3%, and 0.0%; P < 0.001) were decreased. Higher tube voltage scanning (80, 100, and 120 kV) resulted in decreasing luminal attenuation (689 ± 135, 497 ± 89, and 391 ± 73 HU; P < 0.001) and calcified plaque volume (59%, 34%, and 23%; P < 0.001) and increased fibrofatty plaque (3%, 9%, and 18%; P < 0.001) and necrotic core (0.2%, 0.1%, and 0.6%; P < 0.001). Mediation analysis showed that the impact of 100 kV on plaque composition, compared with 120 kV, was primarily caused by an indirect effect through blood pool attenuation. Tube voltage scanning of 80 kV maintained a direct effect on fibrofatty plaque and necrotic core in addition to an indirect effect through the luminal attenuation.

Conclusions: Low tube voltage usage affected plaque morphology, mainly through an increase in luminal HU with a resultant increase in calcified plaque and a reduction in fibrofatty and necrotic core. These findings should be considered as CCTA-based plaque measures are being used to guide medical management and, in particular, when being used as a measure of treatment response. (Progression of Atherosclerotic Plaque Determined by Computed Tomographic Angiography Imaging [PARADIGM]; NCT02803411).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmg.2021.07.011DOI Listing
August 2021

Association of Statin Treatment With Progression of Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaque Composition.

JAMA Cardiol 2021 Nov;6(11):1257-1266

Department of Pathology, CVPath Institute, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Importance: The density of atherosclerotic plaque forms the basis for categorizing calcified and noncalcified morphology of plaques.

Objective: To assess whether alterations in plaque across a range of density measurements provide a more detailed understanding of atherosclerotic disease progression.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cohort study enrolled 857 patients who underwent serial coronary computed tomography angiography 2 or more years apart and had quantitative measurements of coronary plaques throughout the entire coronary artery tree. The study was conducted from 2013 to 2016 at 13 sites in 7 countries.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The main outcome was progression of plaque composition of individual coronary plaques. Six plaque composition types were defined on a voxel-level basis according to the plaque attenuation (expressed in Hounsfield units [HU]): low attenuation (-30 to 75 HU), fibro-fatty (76-130 HU), fibrous (131-350 HU), low-density calcium (351-700 HU), high-density calcium (701-1000 HU), and 1K (>1000 HU). The progression rates of these 6 compositional plaque types were evaluated according to the interaction between statin use and baseline plaque volume, adjusted for risk factors and time interval between scans. Plaque progression was also examined based on baseline calcium density. Analysis was performed among lesions matched at baseline and follow-up. Data analyses were conducted from August 2019 through March 2020.

Results: In total, 2458 coronary lesions in 857 patients (mean [SD] age, 62.1 [8.7] years; 540 [63.0%] men; 548 [63.9%] received statin therapy) were included. Untreated coronary lesions increased in volume over time for all 6 compositional types. Statin therapy was associated with volume decreases in low-attenuation plaque (β, -0.02; 95% CI, -0.03 to -0.01; P = .001) and fibro-fatty plaque (β, -0.03; 95% CI, -0.04 to -0.02; P < .001) and greater progression of high-density calcium plaque (β, 0.02; 95% CI, 0.01-0.03; P < .001) and 1K plaque (β, 0.02; 95% CI, 0.01-0.03; P < .001). When analyses were restricted to lesions without low-attenuation plaque or fibro-fatty plaque at baseline, statin therapy was not associated with a change in overall calcified plaque volume (β, -0.03; 95% CI, -0.08 to 0.02; P = .24) but was associated with a transformation toward more dense calcium. Interaction analysis between baseline plaque volume and calcium density showed that more dense coronary calcium was associated with less plaque progression.

Conclusions And Relevance: The results suggest an association of statin use with greater rates of transformation of coronary atherosclerosis toward high-density calcium. A pattern of slower overall plaque progression was observed with increasing density. All findings support the concept of reduced atherosclerotic risk with increased densification of calcium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2021.3055DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8374741PMC
November 2021

Impact of COVID-19 on Cardiovascular Testing in the United States Versus the Rest of the World.

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging 2021 09 16;14(9):1787-1799. Epub 2021 Jun 16.

Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

Objectives: This study sought to quantify and compare the decline in volumes of cardiovascular procedures between the United States and non-U.S. institutions during the early phase of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the care of many non-COVID-19 illnesses. Reductions in diagnostic cardiovascular testing around the world have led to concerns over the implications of reduced testing for cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality.

Methods: Data were submitted to the INCAPS-COVID (International Atomic Energy Agency Non-Invasive Cardiology Protocols Study of COVID-19), a multinational registry comprising 909 institutions in 108 countries (including 155 facilities in 40 U.S. states), assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on volumes of diagnostic cardiovascular procedures. Data were obtained for April 2020 and compared with volumes of baseline procedures from March 2019. We compared laboratory characteristics, practices, and procedure volumes between U.S. and non-U.S. facilities and between U.S. geographic regions and identified factors associated with volume reduction in the United States.

Results: Reductions in the volumes of procedures in the United States were similar to those in non-U.S. facilities (68% vs. 63%, respectively; p = 0.237), although U.S. facilities reported greater reductions in invasive coronary angiography (69% vs. 53%, respectively; p < 0.001). Significantly more U.S. facilities reported increased use of telehealth and patient screening measures than non-U.S. facilities, such as temperature checks, symptom screenings, and COVID-19 testing. Reductions in volumes of procedures differed between U.S. regions, with larger declines observed in the Northeast (76%) and Midwest (74%) than in the South (62%) and West (44%). Prevalence of COVID-19, staff redeployments, outpatient centers, and urban centers were associated with greater reductions in volume in U.S. facilities in a multivariable analysis.

Conclusions: We observed marked reductions in U.S. cardiovascular testing in the early phase of the pandemic and significant variability between U.S. regions. The association between reductions of volumes and COVID-19 prevalence in the United States highlighted the need for proactive efforts to maintain access to cardiovascular testing in areas most affected by outbreaks of COVID-19 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmg.2021.03.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8374310PMC
September 2021

Impact of COVID-19 on Diagnostic Cardiac Procedural Volume in Oceania: The IAEA Non-Invasive Cardiology Protocol Survey on COVID-19 (INCAPS COVID).

Heart Lung Circ 2021 Oct 16;30(10):1477-1486. Epub 2021 May 16.

Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Vic, Australia; University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic, Australia. Electronic address:

Objectives: The INCAPS COVID Oceania study aimed to assess the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiac procedure volume provided in the Oceania region.

Methods: A retrospective survey was performed comparing procedure volumes within March 2019 (pre-COVID-19) with April 2020 (during first wave of COVID-19 pandemic). Sixty-three (63) health care facilities within Oceania that perform cardiac diagnostic procedures were surveyed, including a mixture of metropolitan and regional, hospital and outpatient, public and private sites, and 846 facilities outside of Oceania. The percentage change in procedure volume was measured between March 2019 and April 2020, compared by test type and by facility.

Results: In Oceania, the total cardiac diagnostic procedure volume was reduced by 52.2% from March 2019 to April 2020, compared to a reduction of 75.9% seen in the rest of the world (p<0.001). Within Oceania sites, this reduction varied significantly between procedure types, but not between types of health care facility. All procedure types (other than stress cardiac magnetic resonance [CMR] and positron emission tomography [PET]) saw significant reductions in volume over this time period (p<0.001). In Oceania, transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) decreased by 51.6%, transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) by 74.0%, and stress tests by 65% overall, which was more pronounced for stress electrocardiograph (ECG) (81.8%) and stress echocardiography (76.7%) compared to stress single-photon emission computerised tomography (SPECT) (44.3%). Invasive coronary angiography decreased by 36.7% in Oceania.

Conclusion: A significant reduction in cardiac diagnostic procedure volume was seen across all facility types in Oceania and was likely a function of recommendations from cardiac societies and directives from government to minimise spread of COVID-19 amongst patients and staff. Longer term evaluation is important to assess for negative patient outcomes which may relate to deferral of usual models of care within cardiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hlc.2021.04.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8126176PMC
October 2021

Association between Aortic Valve Calcification Progression and Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaque Volume Progression in the PARADIGM Registry.

Radiology 2021 07 11;300(1):79-86. Epub 2021 May 11.

From the Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Ewha Womans University Seoul Hospital, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea (S.E.L.); Yonsei-Cedars-Sinai Integrative Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Yonsei University Health System, Seoul, South Korea (S.E.L., J.M.S., H.J.C.); Division of Cardiology, Severance Cardiovascular Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Yonsei University Health System, 50-1 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 03722, South Korea (J.M.S., S.S., H.J.C.); Centro Cardiologico Monzino, IRCCS, Milan, Italy (D.A., E.C., G.P.); Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Tex (M.H.A.); Department of Medicine, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Torrance, Calif (M.J.B.); Cardiovascular Imaging Unit, SDN IRCCS, Naples, Italy (F.C.); Department of Cardiology, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich (K.C.); Pusan University Hospital, Busan, South Korea (J.H.C.); Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, South Korea (E.J.C.); Department of Radiology, Casa de Saude São Jose, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (I.G.); Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, German Heart Center Munich, Munich, Germany (M.H.); Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Cardiovascular Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea (Y.J.K.); Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea (B.K.L.); Department of Medicine and Radiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (J.A.L.); Department of Radiology, Area Vasta 1/ASUR Marche, Urbino, Italy (E.M.); UNICA, Unit of Cardiovascular Imaging, Hospital da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal (H.M., P.d.A.G.); Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Mass (P.H.S.); Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga (H.S.); Department of Pathology, CVPath Institute, Gaithersburg, Md (R.V.); Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY (J.N.); Department of Imaging and Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, Calif (D.S.B.); Department of Radiology, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY (L.J.S., F.Y.L., J.K.M.); Department of Cardiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands (J.J.B.).

Background Aortic valve calcification (AVC) is a key feature of aortic stenosis, and patients with aortic stenosis often have coronary -artery disease. Therefore, proving the association between the progression of AVC and coronary atherosclerosis could improve follow-up and treatment strategies. Purpose To explore the association between the progression of AVC and the progression of total and plaque volume composition from a large multicenter registry of serial coronary CT angiographic examinations. Materials and Methods A prospective multinational registry (PARADIGM) of consecutive participants who underwent serial coronary CT angiography at intervals of every 2 years or more was performed (January 2003-December 2015). AVC and the total and plaque volume composition at baseline and follow-up angiography were quantitatively analyzed. Plaque volumes were normalized by using the mean total analyzed vessel length of the study population. Multivariable linear mixed-effects models were constructed. Results Overall, 594 participants (mean age ± standard deviation, 62 years ± 10; 330 men) were included (mean interval between baseline and follow-up angiography, 3.9 years ± 1.5). At baseline, the AVC score was 31 Agatston units ± 117, and the normalized total plaque volume at baseline was 122 mm ± 219. After adjustment for age, sex, clinical risk factors, and medication use, AVC was independently associated with total plaque volume (standardized β = 0.24; 95% CI: 0.16, 0.32; < .001) and both calcified (β = 0.26; 95% CI: 0.18, 0.34; < .001) and noncalcified (β = 0.17; 95% CI: 0.08, 0.25; < .001) plaque volumes at baseline. The progression of AVC was associated with the progression of total plaque volume (β = 0.13; 95% CI: 0.03, 0.22; = .01), driven solely by calcified plaque volume (β = 0.24; 95% CI: 0.14, 0.34; < .001) but not noncalcified plaque volumes (β = -0.06; 95% CI: -0.14, 0.03; = .17). Conclusion The overall burden of coronary atherosclerosis was associated with aortic valve calcification at baseline. However, the progression of aortic valve calcification was associated with only the progression of calcified plaque volume but not with the -progression of noncalcified plaque volume. Clinical trial registration no. NCT02803411 © RSNA, 2021 See also the editorial by Sinitsyn in this issue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1148/radiol.2021202630DOI Listing
July 2021
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