Editor's Choice - Calcification of Thoracic and Abdominal Aneurysms is Associated with Mortality and Morbidity.

02 Mar 2018

INTRODUCTION: Cardiovascular events are common in people with aortic aneurysms. Arterial calcification is a recognised predictor of cardiovascular outcomes in coronary artery disease. Whether calcification within abdominal and thoracic aneurysm walls is correlated with poor cardiovascular outcomes is not known. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Calcium scores were derived from computed tomography (CT) scans of consecutive patients with either infrarenal (AAA) or descending thoracic aneurysms (TAA) using the modified Agatston score. The primary outcome was subsequent all cause mortality during follow-up. Secondary outcomes were cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. RESULTS: A total of 319 patients (123 TAA and 196 AAA; median age 77 [71-84] years, 72% male) were included with a median follow-up of 30 months. The primary outcome occurred in 120 (37.6%) patients. In the abdominal aortic aneurysm group, the calcium score was significantly related to both all cause mortality and cardiac mortality (odds ratios (OR) of 2.246 (95% CI 1.591-9.476; p < 0.001) and 1.321 (1.076-2.762; p = 0.003)) respectively. In the thoracic aneurysm group, calcium score was significantly related to all cause mortality (OR 6.444; 95% CI 2.574-6.137; p < 0.001), cardiac mortality (OR 3.456; 95% CI 1.765-4.654; p = 0.042) and cardiac morbidity (OR 2.128; 95% CI 1.973-4.342; p = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: Aortic aneurysm calcification, in either the thoracic or the abdominal territory, is significantly associated with both higher overall and cardiovascular mortality. Calcium scoring, rapidly derived from routine CT scans, may help identify high risk patients for treatment to reduce risk.