Sex Differences in the Association Between Bone Mineral Density and Coronary Artery Disease in Patients Referred for Cardiac Computed Tomography

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Atherosclerosis and osteoporosis are both common and preventable diseases. Evidence supports a link between coronary artery disease (CAD) and low bone mineral density (BMD). This study aimed to assess the association between thoracic spine BMD and CAD in men and women with symptoms suggestive of CAD. This cross-sectional study included 1487 (mean age 57 years (range 40-80), 47% men) patients referred for cardiac computed tomography (CT). Agatston coronary artery calcium score (CACS), CAD severity (no, mild, moderate, and severe), vessel involvement (no, 1-, 2-, and 3/left main disease), and invasive measurements were evaluated. BMD of three thoracic vertebrae was measured using quantitative CT. We used the American college of radiology cut-off values for lumbar spine BMD to categorize patients into very low (<80 mg/cm3), low (80-120 mg/cm3), or normal BMD (>120 mg/cm3). BMD as a continuous variable was included in the linear regression analyses to assess associations between CACS (CACS=0, CACS 1- 399, and CACS ≥ 400) and BMD, and CAD severity and BMD. Significant lower BMD was present with increasing CACS and stenosis degree unadjusted. Multivariate linear regression analyses in women revealed a significant correlation between BMD and CACS groups (β = -4.06, p<0.05), but no correlation between BMD and CAD severity (β = -1.59, p = 0.14). No association was found between BMD and CACS (β = -1.50, p = 0.36) and CAD severity (β = 0.07, p = 0.94) in men. BMD is significantly correlated to CACS after adjusting for confounders in women, but not in men, suggesting a possible sex difference in pathophysiology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Densitometry
Pages (from-to)55-66
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

    Research areas

  • Cardiac computed tomography, bone mineral density, coronary artery calcification, coronary artery disease, quantitative computed tomography

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