Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
January 22, 2021
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Abdominal aortic calcification may predict CV events in certain high-risk patients

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Older patients and those with chronic kidney disease who have abdominal aortic calcification are at elevated risk for future CV events and poorer prognosis, according to results published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“While the long-term prognosis in people with coronary artery calcification is well understood, the prognosis in people with abdominal aortic calcification is less well understood,” Joshua R. Lewis, PhD, associate professor of cardiometabolic health at the School of Medical and Health Sciences at Edith Cowan University and future leader fellow at the National Heart Foundation, Perth, Washington, told Healio. “We sought to meta-analyze the results from numerous relatively small studies across a range of clinical populations to identify populations or subsets of populations where abdominal aortic calcification was more or less prognostic and identify areas where further research is needed.”

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Researchers evaluated data from MEDLINE and Embase through March 2018 identifying prospective studies reporting abdominal aortic calcification and incident CV events or all-cause mortality. In total, 52 studies with 36,092 patients were identified, but sufficient data for meta-analysis were only found in studies of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), which comprised 57% of the overall studies, and in studies of elderly individuals (median age, 68 years; age range, 60-80 years), which comprised 26% of the overall studies.

Those with any or advanced abdominal aortic calcification demonstrated a higher risk for CV events (RR = 1.83; 95% CI, 1.4-2.39), fatal CV events (RR = 1.85; 95% CI, 1.44-2.39) and all-cause mortality (RR = 1.98; 95% CI, 1.55-2.53). Among patients with CKD, those who had any or advanced abdominal aortic calcification were at elevated risk for CV events (RR = 3.47; 95% CI, 2.21-5.45), fatal CV events (RR = 3.68; 95% CI, 2.32-5.84) and all-cause mortality (RR = 2.4; 95% CI, 1.95-2.97).

According to a press release, if researchers can identify abdominal aortic calcification sooner, individuals may have time to make lifestyle changes and begin preventive treatments.

The reason abdominal aortic calcification is a good predictor of CV events and mortality is because it is a stable marker of advanced vascular disease and is strongly related to measures of atherosclerosis, according to Lewis.

“Currently, more research is needed to determine whether measuring and providing abdominal aortic calcification results can improve primary prevention and clinical management strategies before considering its use in practice,” Lewis said.

For more information:

Joshua R. Lewis, PhD, can be reached at joshua.lewis@ecu.edu.au.