BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Coronary calcification as detected by electron-beam CT measures the atherosclerotic plaque burden and has been reported to predict coronary events. Because atherosclerosis is a generalized process, coronary calcification may also be associated with manifest atherosclerotic disease at other sites of the vascular tree. We examined whether coronary calcification as detected by electron-beam CT is related to the presence of stroke. METHODS: From 1997 onward, subjects were invited to participate in the prospective Rotterdam Coronary Calcification Study and undergo electron-beam CT to detect coronary calcification. The study was embedded in the population-based Rotterdam Study. Calcifications were quantified in a calcium score according to Agatston's method. Calcium scores were available for 2013 subjects (mean age [SD], 71 [5.7] years). Fifty subjects had experienced stroke before scanning. RESULTS: Subjects were 2 times more likely to have experienced stroke when their calcium score was between 101 and 500 (odds ratio [OR], 2.1; 95% CI, 0.9 to 4.7) and 3 times more likely when their calcium score was above 500 (OR, 3.3; 95% CI, 1.5 to 7.2), compared with subjects in the lowest calcium score category (0 to 100). Additional adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors did not materially alter the risk estimates. CONCLUSIONS: In this population-based study, a markedly graded association was found between coronary calcification and stroke. The results suggest that coronary calcification as detected by electron-beam CT may be useful to identify subjects at high risk of stroke.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Vliegenthart, R., Hollander, M., Breteler, M., van der Kuip, D., Oudkerk, M., Witteman, J., & Hofman, A. (2002). Stroke is associated with coronary calcification as detected by electron-beam CT: the Rotterdam Coronary Calcification Study. Stroke, 33(2), 462–465. Retrieved from