Objective To investigate the long-term prognostic implications of coronary calcification in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention for obstructive coronary artery disease.
Methods Patient-level data from 6296 patients enrolled in seven clinical drug-eluting stents trials were analysed to identify in angiographic images the presence of severe coronary calcification by an independent academic research organisation (Cardialysis, Rotterdam, The Netherlands). Clinical outcomes at 3-years follow-up including all-cause mortality, death—myocardial infarction (MI), and the composite end-point of all-cause death—MI—any revascularisation were compared between patients with and without severe calcification.
Results Severe calcification was detected in 20% of the studied population. Patients with severe lesion calcification were less likely to have undergone complete revascularisation (48% vs 55.6%, p<0.001) and had an increased mortality compared with those without severely calcified arteries (10.8% vs 4.4%, p<0.001). The event rate was also high in patients with severely calcified lesions for the combined end-point death—MI (22.9% vs 10.9%; p<0.001) and death—MI— any revascularisation (31.8% vs 22.4%; p<0.001). On multivariate Cox regression analysis, including the Syntax score, the presence of severe coronary calcification was an independent predictor of poor prognosis (HR: 1.33 95% CI 1.00 to 1.77, p=0.047 for death; 1.23, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.49, p=0.031 for death—MI, and 1.18, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.39, p=0.042 for death—MI— any revascularisation), but it was not associated with an increased risk of stent thrombosis.
Conclusions Patients with severely calcified lesions have worse clinical outcomes compared to those without severe coronary calcification. Severe coronary calcification appears as an independent predictor of worse prognosis, and should be considered as a marker of advanced atherosclerosis.
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