Objectives: Vascular calcification is a strong independent predictor of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality. This study investigated the correlation between aortic and coronary artery calcification metabolism in relation to age in a cohort of healthy controls. Methods: Thirteen healthy volunteers without traditional cardiovascular risk factors were prospectively assessed by Sodium 18-Fluoride (Na-18F) PET CT imaging. Global aortic uptake of Na-18F was determined by calculating the average aortic blood pool subtracted maximum standardized uptake value (cSUV) [maximum SUVaorta - mean SUVblood pool]. Global uptake of Na-18F in the coronary arteries was determined by calculating the average heart blood pool subtracted maximum SUV [maximum SUVheart - mean SUVblood pool]. Calculating regression and correlation coefficients summarized the data. Results: A strong linear relationship was observed between aortic and coronary artery Na-18F avidity (Pearson’s r = 0.83 [95% CI; 0.49, 0.95]; t statistic = 4.71; P = 0.0008). A quadratic relationship was observed between aging and aortic Na-18F avidity. Also, a quadratic relationship was observed between aging and coronary artery Na-18F uptake. A second order polynomial regression established that aging is a predictor of the degree of aortic calcification metabolism (R = 0.447; F statistic = 3.64; P = 0.069) and coronary artery calcification metabolism (R = 0.614; F statistic = 7.30; P = 0.013). Conclusions: Based on preliminary data, a linear relation appears to exist between the degree of aortic molecular calcification and coronary artery molecular calcification. Furthermore, a quadratic relationship appears to exist between aging and arterial calcification metabolism. These data suggest that the degree of vascular calcification metabolism is age dependent, but location independent. Furthermore, these data support the notion that atherosclerosis is a systemic disease.
Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 2013, Vol 54, Issue Suppl. 2