Cardiovascular calcification as a marker of increased cardiovascular risk and a surrogate for subclinical atherosclerosis: Role of echocardiography

Andrea Faggiano, Gloria Santangelo, Stefano Carugo, Gregg Pressman, Eugenio Picano, Pompilio Faggiano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The risk prediction of future cardiovascular events is mainly based on conventional risk factor assessment by validated algorithms, such as the Framingham Risk Score, the Pooled Cohort Equations and the European SCORE Risk Charts. The identification of subclinical atherosclerosis has emerged as a promising tool to refine the individual cardiovascular risk identified by these models, to prognostic stratify asymptomatic individuals and to implement preventive strategies. Several imaging modalities have been proposed for the identification of subclinical organ damage, the main ones being coronary artery calcification scanning by cardiac computed tomography and the two-dimensional ultrasound evaluation of carotid arteries. In this context, echocardiography offers an assessment of cardiac calcifications at different sites, such as the mitral apparatus (including annulus, leaflets and papillary muscles), aortic valve and ascending aorta, findings that are associated with the clinical manifestation of atherosclerotic disease and are predictive of future cardiovascular events. The aim of this paper is to summarize the available evidence on clinical implications of cardiac calcification, review studies that propose semiquantitative ultrasound assessments of cardiac calcifications and evaluate the potential of ultrasound calcium scores for risk stratification and prevention of clinical events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1668
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Volume10
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cardiac calcification
  • Risk reclassification
  • Subclinical atherosclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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