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New Data Shed Light on Disparities in Coronary Artery Calcium Screening


New research shows a disproportionate distribution of coronary artery calcium (CAC) screening that favors White, educated, affluent, English-speaking individuals.

These results indicate that persons “with higher income and greater health literacy are more likely to receive CAC testing,” wrote researchers in the study abstract that will be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 73rd Annual Scientific Session, held April 6-8, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia.

CAC scores provide key evidence of subclinical atherosclerosis, however, “CAC studies are often not covered by insurance which could exclude people of lower socioeconomic status,” stated investigators.

To examine potential disparities in CAC screening, researchers obtained patient demographic and occupational data for computed tomography coronary calcium scoring performed between October 2010 and March 2024.

“Household income and population reference data were taken from American Community Survey Data and matched to zip code and regional metropolitan area, respectively,” wrote authors.

Among the 627 patients (median age, 63 years; 51% women) who received CAC testing, the majority were White (77%) and English-speaking (98%), “which is incongruent with local demographic data,” stated researchers.

Results also showed that health care workers (21%) were the most likely to receive CAC testing followed by persons involved in education (12%). Overall, 33% of participants had masters/professional degrees, according to the abstract.

In addition, among the cohort, the mean median household income was $94 116, which was greater than the local mean median household income of $81 264 (95% CI, 80 507 – 82 020).

“These disparities in CAC testing, especially in minorities and non-English speaking patients, should be further explored,” concluded researchers.

Drew Faturos will present the study, “Socioeconomic disparity in coronary artery calcium screening,” on Saturday, April 6, at 9:45 AM EDT in Poster Hall B4-5.

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