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Prognostic Interplay Between Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring and Cardiorespiratory FItness: The CAC-FIT Study



      To assess the incremental prognostic role of coronary artery calcium score (CACS) and exercise capacity (EC), two independent prognostic tests in the assessment of patients with coronary artery disease.


      The cohort consisted of patients who had clinically indicated exercise stress testing and CACS assessment from January 1, 2015, to September 30, 2021, with a median of 27 days between each other. Exercise capacity was defined by peak metabolic equivalents of task (METs) achieved during exercise stress test. The CACS was determined by the Agatston method. Patients were observed from the latest test date to incident major adverse cardiac events (inclusive of all-cause death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, late revascularization, and admission for heart failure).


      There were a` total of 1932 patients in the study population (mean age, 56±12 years; 42% female, 48% hypertension, 21% diabetes, 48% dyslipidemia). Peak METs below 6 was achieved in 8% of patients, and the median (interquartile range) CACS was 9 (0-203). In multivariable Cox regression models, both CACS (1 unit increase in log CACS: hazard ratio, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.06 to 1.34; P=.003;) and EC (1 unit increase in peak METs: hazard ratio, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.81 to 0.97; P=.01) were independently associated with outcomes. Using CACS+EC added incremental prognostic value over clinical and fitness models (C index increase from 0.68 to 0.75; P=.015). Incident event rates increased across categories of CACS and EC.


      Our analysis found that CACS and EC have complementary risk-stratifying roles in coronary artery disease.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      CACS (coronary artery calcium score), CAD (coronary artery disease), EC (exercise capacity), MET (metabolic equivalent of task), MACE (major adverse cardiac event)
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