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Coronary Artery Disease Association With Arterial Calcifications on Routine Hand Radiographs

Published:October 31, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhsa.2019.10.004

      Purpose

      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.

      Methods

      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.

      Results

      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.

      Conclusions

      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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