Validity of Vascular Calcification as a Screening Tool and as a Surrogate End Point in Clinical Research.
OBJECTIVES The aim was to examine and compare the impact of HeartScore and coronary artery calcification (CAC) score on subsequent changes in the use of medication. METHODS A total of 1156 healthy men and women, aged 50 or 60, had a baseline medical examination and a coronary artery CT-scan as a part of a screening programme. Using the European HeartScore, the total 10-year cardiovascular mortality risk was estimated (≥5% risk was considered as high). Risk factors and CAC scores were reported to both the patients and their general practitioner. Six months after the screening, follow-up questionnaires addressing current medication were mailed to the participants. RESULTS A completed questionnaire was returned by 1075 (93%) subjects. At follow up, the overall use of prophylactic medication was significantly increased. Of those with CAC (n = 462) or high HeartScore (n = 233), 21 and 19%, respectively, received lipid-lowering treatment, while 25 and 32%, respectively, received antihypertensive treatment. In multivariate logistic regression analyses, the presence of CAC was associated with an increased use of lipid-lowering treatment (OR 2.2; 95% CI 1.2-4.0), while the presence of a high HeartScore was associated with an increased use of lipid-lowering (OR 2.9; 95% CI 1.6-5.5) and antihypertensive medication (OR 3.4; 95% CI 1.9-6.0). CONCLUSION Knowledge of present cardiovascular risk factors like high HeartScore and/or CAC leads to beneficial changes in medication. However, at follow up only a minority of high-risk subjects did received prophylactic treatment. CAC score was not superior to HeartScore regarding these motivational outcomes.