Background: Carotid artery atherosclerosis is an important risk factor for stroke. As such, quantitative imaging of carotid artery calcification, as a proxy of atherosclerosis, has become a cornerstone of current stroke research. Yet, population-based data comparing the computed tomography (CT) and cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) for the detection and quantification of calcification remain scarce.
Methods: A total of 684 participants from the population-based Rotterdam Study underwent both a CT and CMR of the carotid artery bifurcation to quantify the amount of carotid artery calcification (mean interscan interval: 4.9 ± 1.2 years). We investigated the correlation between the amount of calcification measured on CT and CMR using Spearman's correlation coefficient, Bland-Altman plots, and linear regression. In addition, using logistic regression modeling, we assessed the association of CT and CMR based calcification volumes with a history of stroke.
Results: We found a strong correlation between CT and CMR based calcification volumes (Spearman's correlation coefficient:0.86, p-value ≤0.01). Bland-Altman analyses showed a good agreement, though CT based calcification volumes were systematically larger. Finally, calcification volume assessed with either imaging modality was associated with a history of stroke with similar effect estimates (odds ratio (OR) per 1-SD increase in calcification volume: 1.52 (95% CI:1.00;2.30) for CT, and 1.47 (95% CI:1.01;2.14) for CMR.
Conclusion: CT based and CMR based volumes of carotid artery calcification are highly correlated, but CMR based calcification is systematically smaller than those obtained with CT. Despite this difference, both provide comparable information with regard to a history of stroke.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Atherosclerosis, Calcification, Carotid artery, CMR, CT, Stroke
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12968-017-0340-z, hdl.handle.net/1765/98317
Journal Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (Print)
Citation
Mujaj, B, Arias Lorza, A.M.A, van Engelen, A, de Bruijne, M, Franco, O.H, van der Lugt, A, … Bos, D. (2017). Comparison of CT and CMR for detection and quantification of carotid artery calcification: the Rotterdam Study. Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (Print), 19(1). doi:10.1186/s12968-017-0340-z