Coronary Artery Disease Association With Arterial Calcifications on Routine Hand Radiographs

Published:October 31, 2019DOI:


      Arterial calcifications in the lower extremity, chest, and cardiac vessels have been linked to coronary artery disease (CAD). However, the relation between arterial calcifications observed on routine hand and upper-extremity radiographs and atherosclerosis has not been determined. This study examined whether arterial calcifications found on hand radiographs are associated with CAD.


      A record review from a single institution identified 345 patients with both hand radiographs and CAD screening with cardiac stress testing or coronary angiography. Patients with chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, or incomplete hand films were excluded. We reviewed x-rays for findings of arterial calcifications. Cardiac testing results were used to establish a baseline diagnosis of CAD. We made group comparisons and employed multivariable logistic regression to evaluate the association between upper-extremity calcification and CAD.


      A total of 210 patients met inclusion criteria: 155 with CAD and 55 without it. Mean age was 72 years, body mass index was 28.8, and 54% were male. Patients had comorbidities of hypertension (91%), hyperlipidemia (87%), diabetes (39%), cerebrovascular accident (9%), and a history of tobacco use (53%). Of 155 CAD patients, 67 had arterial calcifications on hand radiographs (43%), compared with 6 of 55 without it (11%). In a multivariable model controlling for sex, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes, the presence of arterial calcifications on hand plain films indicated a 6.2-fold increased odds of CAD.


      The current data demonstrate that arterial calcifications on hand radiographs are independently associated with CAD. This may represent an opportunity to the treating physician as a point of referral or investigation for underlying or occult CAD.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Prevalence III.

      Key words

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