Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring in Young Adults: Evidence and Challenges
Purpose of Review
This review aims to summarize the evidence and challenges of coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring as a screening tool for coronary artery disease (CAD) in young adults.
Several cohort studies have highlighted the value of CAC scoring in CAD risk assessment in young adults. The largest study to date is the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. The study examined patients at 18–30 years of age and demonstrated that the presence of any degree of CAC was associated with a higher risk of coronary events compared to zero CAC, with an incremental increase in the risk of events with higher scores. However, it is important to note that 70% of patients screened had CAC = 0 at the age of 56.
Despite the evidence that higher CAC score cutoff used in guidelines for predicting cardiovascular risk may be “falsely reassuring,” however, mass screening of young adults using CAC score may be challenging. The development of prediction tools and scoring systems to identify patients at higher risk of developing CAC based on known CAD risk factors may help reduce the number needed to screen to detect patients with positive CAC.
KeywordsCoronary Calcium score Young adults Age Review
Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
Coronary artery calcium
Coronary artery disease
Coronary heart disease
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Marwan Saad MD, Naga Venkata Pothineni, Joseph Thomas, Richa Parikh, Swathi Kovelamudi, Dina Elsayed, Ramez Nairooz, and Frederick Feit declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance
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