Khaled Abdelrahman, Arthur Shiyovich, Daniel M. Huck, Adam N. Berman, Brittany Weber, Sumit Gupta, Rhanderson Cardoso, Ron Blankstein

Artificial Intelligence in Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring Detection and Quantification

  • Clinical Biochemistry

Coronary artery calcium (CAC) is a marker of coronary atherosclerosis, and the presence and severity of CAC have been shown to be powerful predictors of future cardiovascular events. Due to its value in risk discrimination and reclassification beyond traditional risk factors, CAC has been supported by recent guidelines, particularly for the purposes of informing shared decision-making regarding the use of preventive therapies. In addition to dedicated ECG-gated CAC scans, the presence and severity of CAC can also be accurately estimated on non-contrast chest computed tomography scans performed for other clinical indications. However, the presence of such “incidental” CAC is rarely reported. Advances in artificial intelligence have now enabled automatic CAC scoring for both cardiac and non-cardiac CT scans. Various AI approaches, from rule-based models to machine learning algorithms and deep learning, have been applied to automate CAC scoring. Convolutional neural networks, a deep learning technique, have had the most successful approach, with high agreement with manual scoring demonstrated in multiple studies. Such automated CAC measurements may enable wider and more accurate detection of CAC from non-gated CT studies, thus improving the efficiency of healthcare systems to identify and treat previously undiagnosed coronary artery disease.

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