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International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 459286, 8 pages
Research Article

Distribution, Size, and Shape of Abdominal Aortic Calcified Deposits and Their Relationship to Mortality in Postmenopausal Women

1Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
2Nordic Bioscience Imaging A/S, 2730 Herlev, Denmark
3Biomedical Imaging Group Rotterdam, Departments of Radiology & Medical Informatics, Erasmus MC, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
4CCBR-Synarc A/S, 2750 Ballerup, Denmark
5Nordic Bioscience A/S, 2730 Herlev, Denmark

Received 19 December 2011; Accepted 11 April 2012

Academic Editor: Jiangming Liang

Copyright © 2012 Melanie Ganz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Abdominal aortic calcifications (AACs) correlate strongly with coronary artery calcifications and can be predictors of cardiovascular mortality. We investigated whether size, shape, and distribution of AACs are related to mortality and how such prognostic markers perform compared to the state-of-the-art AC24 marker introduced by Kauppila. Methods. For 308 postmenopausal women, we quantified the number of AAC and the percentage of the abdominal aorta that the lesions occupied in terms of their area, simulated plaque area, thickness, wall coverage, and length. We analysed inter-/intraobserver reproducibility and predictive ability of mortality after 8-9 years via Cox regression leading to hazard ratios (HRs). Results. The coefficient of variation was below 25% for all markers. The strongest individual predictors were the number of calcifications () and the simulated area percentage () of a calcified plaque, and, unlike AC24 (), they allowed mortality prediction also after adjusting for traditional risk factors. In a combined Cox regression model, the strongest complementary predictors were the number of calcifications () and the area percentage (). Conclusion. Morphometric markers of AAC quantified from radiographs may be a useful tool for screening and monitoring risk of CVD mortality.