Sex Differences in Coronary Arterial Calcification in Symptomatic Patients

Publication Date


Journal Title

American Journal of Cardiology


Despite the increasing use of Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) scoring for cardiovascular risk stratification in asymptomatic patients, the gender differences in CAC among symptomatic patients have not been well evaluated. We analyzed patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with chest pain suggesting possible coronary artery disease (CAD) who received coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA). Ordinal logistic regression was used to determine the odds ratio for the association of traditional cardiovascular risk factors and CAC. Patients with a CAC score ≥ 100 were followed for cardiovascular events or changes in medical management. Our cohort included 542 individuals (263 male, 279 female). Ordinal logistic regression model showed that among traditional cardiovascular risk factors, male sex had the highest odds ratio (OR) of 3.04 (p < 0.001, 95% CI [2.01, 4.59]) for the presence of CAC. Also, males had more diffuse distribution of coronary atherosclerosis (p=0.01). Subgroup analysis revealed that obesity was a bigger risk factor in male patients (OR 2.16), while smoking showed the greatest effect (OR 4.27) on CAC in women. Of patients who had CAC > 100 with an average follow-up of 346 days, there was an increase in both aspirin and statin use, yet significant sex differences were observed especially in patients with non-obstructive lesions on CCTA. Among male patients with non-obstructive lesions, 68.2% were on aspirin and 86.4% were on statin therapy after the CCTA compared to 27.3% and 45.5% respectively in their female counterparts. In conclusion, sex not only is the most powerful predictor for higher CAC among traditional cardiovascular risk factors in symptomatic patients but also influences the contribution of various traditional risk factors to elevated CAC. Furthermore, the discovery of CAD led to the initiation of medical therapy in male patients more frequently than in female patients, even after adjusting for the degree of luminal stenosis detected on coronary CT angiography.

Document Type



Faculty, Northwell Resident, SOM Student


School of Medicine; Northwell Health

Primary Department


Additional Departments






This document is currently not available here.