Total atherosclerotic burden by whole body magnetic resonance angiography predicts major adverse cardiovascular events



      The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between the Total Atherosclerotic Score (TAS), a measurement of the overall atherosclerotic burden of the arterial tree by whole body magnetic resonance angiography (WBMRA), and the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), defined as cardiac death, myocardial infarction, stroke and/or coronary revascularization, assuming that TAS predicts MACE.

      Methods and results

      305 randomly selected 70 year-old subjects (47% women) underwent WBMRA. Their atherosclerotic burden was evaluated and TAS > 0, that is atherosclerotic changes, were found in 68% of subjects. During follow-up (mean 4.8 years), MACE occurred in 25 subjects (8.2%). Adjusting for multiple risk factors, TAS was associated with MACE (OR 8.86 for any degree of vessel lumen abnormality, 95%CI 1.14–69.11, p = 0.037). In addition, TAS improved discrimination and reclassification when added to the Framingham risk score (FRS), and ROC (Receiver Operator Curve) increased from 0.681 to 0.750 (p = 0.0421).


      In a population-based sample of 70 year old men and women WBMRA, with TAS, predicted MACE independently of major cardiovascular risk factors.


      • Atherosclerosis was assessed with whole-body MRA in a population-based cohort.
      • 4.8 years follow-up gave eight-fold risk of MACE if any atherosclerotic changes.
      • Addition of the WBMRA-assessment to FRS improved classification for risk of MACE.
      • Only one subject with normal arteries had an MACE indicating good test specificity.


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