Background Most exercise-related cardiac arrests in men aged 45 years are due to coronary artery disease (CAD). The current sports medical evaluation (SME) of middle-aged sportsmen includes medical history, physical examination and resting and exercise electrocardiography (ECG). We investigated the added value of low-dose cardiac computed tomography (CCT) - both non-contrast CT for coronary artery calcium scoring (CACS) and contrast-enhanced coronary CT angiography (CCTA) - in order to detect occult CAD in asymptomatic recreational sportsmen aged 45 years without known cardiovascular disease.
Methods Following a normal SME (with resting and bicycle exercise ECG), 318 asymptomatic sportsmen underwent CCT and 300 (94%) had a low European Society of Cardiology Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE) risk. Occult CAD was defined as a CACS 100 Agatston units (AU) or obstructive (50%) luminal stenosis on CCTA. The number needed to screen (NNS) in order to prevent one cardiovascular event within 5 years with statin treatment was estimated.
Results Fifty-two (16.4%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 12.7-20.8%) of 318 participants had a CACS 100 AU. The CCTA identified an additional eight participants with luminal narrowing 50% (and a CACS
Conclusions Coronary CT detects occult CAD in almost one in five asymptomatic sportsmen aged 45 years after a normal SME that included resting and bicycle exercise ECG. CACS reveals most of the relevant CAD with limited additional value of contrast-enhanced CCTA. The NNS in order to prevent one cardiovascular event compares favourably to that of other screening tests.
- coronary artery disease
- coronary artery calcium score
- coronary computed tomography angiography
- exercise electrocardiography
- SCIENTIFIC STATEMENT
- EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY
- MARATHON RUNNERS
- STATIN THERAPY
- CT ANGIOGRAPHY