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Original article

Vol. 154 No. 1 (2024)

Prognostic impact of carotid plaque imaging using total plaque area added to SCORE2 in middle-aged subjects: the ARteris Cardiovascular Outcome (ARCO) cohort study

  • Michel Romanens
  • Ansgar Adams
  • Michel Wenger
  • Walter Warmuth
  • Isabella Sudano
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2024;154:3735


AIMS: Many cardiovascular events occur in seemingly healthy individuals.We set out to assess the predictive value of atherosclerosis imaging in combination with cardiovascular risk calculators in subjects aged 40–65 years.

METHODS: We compared PROCAM (PROspective CArdiovascular Münster study), SCORE (Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation) and SCORE2 with carotid ultrasound (total plaque area, TPA) in subjects without cardiovascular disease. In this prospective cohort study, follow-up was obtained by phone or mail from patients; or from clinical records, if needed.

RESULTS: In 2842 subjects (mean age 50±8 years; 38% women), cardiovascular events occurred in 154 (5.4%) of them over an mean follow-up period of 5.9 (range 1–12) years, specifically: 41 cases of AMI (myocardial infarction), 16 strokes, 21 CABG (coronary artery bypass grafting), 41 PTCA (percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty) and 35 CAD (coronary artery disease). Mean PROCAM risk was 5±6%, mean SCORE risk was 1.3±1.6% and mean SCORE2 risk was 5±3%. Both for the primary outcome (major adverse cardiovascular events, MACEs, i.e. AMI + strokes) and the secondary outcome (atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, ASCVD, i.e. MACEs + CABG + CAD + PTCA), hazards increased significantly for TPA tertiles and SCORE2 post-test risk between 6.7 to 12.8 after adjustment for risk factors (age, smoke, sex, systolic blood pressure, lipids, medication) and after adjustment for results from PROCAM, SCORE and SCORE2. Model performance was statistically improved regarding model fit in all models using TPA. Net reclassification improvement for SCORE2 with TPA post-test risk increased significantly by 24% for MACEs (p = 0.01) and 39% for ASCVD (p <0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Integration of TPA post-test risk into SCORE2 adds prognostic information, supporting the use of carotid ultrasound when assessing ASCVD risk in subjects aged 40–65 years.


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