Research paper| Volume 14, ISSUE 3, P266-271, May 2020

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A novel density-volume calcium score by non-contrast CT predicts coronary plaque burden on coronary CT angiography: Results from the MACS (Multicenter AIDS cohort study)

Published:September 24, 2019DOI:



      The purpose of this study is to determine if a new score calculated with coronary artery calcium (CAC) density and volume is associated with total coronary artery plaque burden and composition on coronary CT angiography (CCTA) compared to the Agatston score (AS).


      We identified 347 men enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS cohort study who underwent contrast and non-contrast CCTs, and had CAC>0. CAC densities (mean Hounsfield Units [HU]) per plaque) and volumes on non-contrast CCT were measured. A Density-Volume Calcium score was calculated by multiplying the plaque volume by a factor based on the mean HU of the plaque (4, 3, 2 and 1 for 130–199, 200–299, 300–399, and ≥400HU). Total Density-Volume Calcium score was determined by the sum of these individual scores. The semi-quantitative partially calcified and total plaque scores (PCPS and TPS) on CCTA were calculated. The associations between Density-Volume Calcium score, PCPS and TPS were examined.


      Overall, 2879 CAC plaques were assessed. Multivariable linear regression models demonstrated a stronger association between the log Density-Volume Calcium score and both the PCPS (β 0.99, 95%CI 0.80–1.19) and TPS (β 2.15, 95%CI 1.88–2.42) compared to the log of AS (PCPS: β 0.77, 95%CI 0.61–0.94; TPS: β 1.70, 95%CI 1.48–1.94). Similar results were observed for numbers of PC or TP segments.


      The new CAC score weighted towards lower density demonstrated improved correlation with semi-quantitative PC and TP burden on CCTA compared to the traditional AS, which suggests it has utility as an alternative measure of atherosclerotic burden.



      CAC (Coronary artery calcium), CCTA (Coronary computed tomographic angiography), CAD (Coronary artery disease), HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus)
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