Rationale and Objectives: To describe the rationale, design, and technical background of coronary artery calcium (CAC) imaging in the large-scale population-based cardiovascular disease screening trial (Risk Or Benefit IN Screening for CArdiovascular Diseases [ROBINSCA]).
Materials and Methods: First, literature search was performed to review the logistics, setup, and settings of previously performed CAC imaging studies, and current clinical CAC imaging protocols of participating centers in the ROBINSCA trial were evaluated. A second literature search was performed to evaluate the impact of computed tomography parameter settings on CAC score.
Results: Based on literature reviews and experts opinion an imaging protocol accompanied by data management protocol was created for ROBINSCA. The imaging protocol should consist of a fixed tube voltage, individually tailored tube current setting, mid-diastolic electrocardiography-triggering, fixed field-of-view, fixed reconstruction kernel, fixed slice thickness, overlapping reconstruction and without iterative reconstruction. The analysis of scans is performed with one type and version of CAC scoring software, by two dedicated and experienced researchers. The data management protocol describes the organization of data handling between the coordinating center, participating centers, and core analysis center.
Conclusion: In this paper we describe the rationale and technical considerations to be taken in developing CAC imaging protocol, and we present a detailed protocol that can be implemented for CAC screening purposes.