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CAC Score, Physical Activity May Help Predict Mortality in Seniors

For patients with high coronary artery calcium score, mortality up with decreasing physical activity

plaque in artery

MONDAY, June 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Combining coronary artery calcium (CAC) score with self-reported physical activity may help predict mortality risk for older adults, according to a study published in the June issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes.

Alan Rozanski, M.D., from Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York City, and colleagues assessed 2,318 patients aged 65 to 84 years who underwent CAC scanning from Aug. 31, 1998, through Nov. 16, 2016. Daily-life physical activity was assessed by a single-item question; patients were classified into low, moderate, and high levels of physical activity. Patients were followed for a mean of 10.6 ± 4.6 years.

The researchers identified a graded relationship between the magnitude of CAC abnormality and mortality; an inverse association was seen between physical activity and mortality. Among patients with low CAC scores (0 to 99), similarly low mortality rates were seen for patients with low, moderate, and high physical activity levels. A stepwise increase in mortality was seen with decreasing physical activity among patients with high CAC scores (≥400). The mortality rate was similar for patients with CAC scores of ≥400 reporting high physical activity and for those with CAC scores of 0 to 99 and low physical activity (19.9 versus 16.3 per 1,000 person-years).

"Combining CAC scores with a single-item self-reported question regarding physical activity significantly improved the assessment of mortality risk in older adults," the authors write.

One author disclosed receipt of software royalties.

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