BACKGROUND: Preeclampsia, coronary artery calcification (CAC), and atherosclerotic plaque are risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease. We determined at what age CAC becomes apparent on coronary computed tomography after preeclampsia and to what extent modifiable cardiovascular risk factors were associated. METHODS: We measured cardiovascular risk factors, CAC by coronary computed tomography, and coronary plaque by coronary computed tomography angiography in 258 previously preeclamptic women aged 40-63. Results were compared to 644 age- and ethnicity-equivalent women from the Framingham Heart Study with previous normotensive pregnancies. RESULTS: Any CAC was more prevalent after preeclampsia than after a normotensive pregnancy (20% versus 13%). However, this difference was greatest and statistically significant only in women ages 45 to 50 (23% versus 10%). The degree of CAC advanced 4× faster between the ages of 40 to 45 and ages 45 to 50 in women with a history of preeclampsia (odds ratio, 4.3 [95% CI, 1.5-12.2] versus odds ratio, 1.2 [95% CI, 0.6-2.3]). Women with a preeclampsia history maintained greater advancement of CAC with age into their early 60s, although this difference declined after the perimenopausal years. Women with a previous normotensive pregnancy were 4.9 years (95% CI, 1.8-8.0) older when they had similar CAC scores as previously preeclamptic women. These observations were not explained by the greater prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors, and the higher Framingham Risk Scores also observed in women with a history of preeclampsia. CONCLUSIONS: Previously preeclamptic women have more modifiable cardiovascular risk factors and develop CAC ≈5 years earlier from the age of 45 years onwards compared to women with normotensive pregnancies. Therefore, women who experienced preeclampsia might benefit from regular cardiovascular screening and intervention before this age. Registration: URL:; Unique identifier: NTR5531.

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Circulation. Cardiovascular Imaging
Department of Radiology

Benschop, L., Brouwers, L. (Laura), Zoet, G.A. (Gerbrand A.), Meun, C., Boersma, E., Budde, R., … Roeters van Lennep, J. (2020). Early Onset of Coronary Artery Calcification in Women With Previous Preeclampsia. Circulation. Cardiovascular Imaging, 13(11). doi:10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.119.010340