Association of cardiometabolic and vascular atherosclerosis phenotypes on non-contrast chest CT with incident heart failure in patients with severe hypercholesterolemia

Document Type



Office of the Provost; Cardiology


Background: Coronary artery calcium (CAC), thoracic aorta calcification (TAC), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) are associated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and heart failure (HF).
Objectives: We aimed to determine whether these cardiometabolic and atherosclerotic risk factors identified by non-contrast chest computed tomography (CT) are associated with HF hospitalizations in patients with LDL-C≥ 190 mg/dL.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of patients with LDL-C ≥190 mg/dL, aged ≥40 years without established ASCVD or HF, who had a non-contrast chest CT within 3 years of LDL-C measurement. Ordinal CAC, ordinal TAC, EAT, and NAFLD were measured. Kaplan-Meier curves and multivariable Cox regression models were built to ascertain the association with HF hospitalization.
Results: We included 762 patients with median age 60 (53-68) years, 68% (n=520) female, and median LDL-C level of 203 (194-216) mg/dL. Patients were followed for 4.7 (IQR 2.75-6.16) years, and 107 (14%) had a HF hospitalization. Overall, 355 (47%) patients had CAC=0, 210 (28%) had TAC=0, 116 (15%) had NAFLD, and median EAT was 79 mL (49-114). Moderate-Severe CAC (log-rank p<0.001) and TAC (log-rank p=0.006) groups were associated with increased HF hospitalizations. This association persisted when considering myocardial infarction (MI) as a competing risk. NAFLD and EAT volume were not associated with HF.
Conclusions: In patients without established ASCVD and LDL-C≥190 mg/dL, CAC was independently associated with increased HF hospitalizations while TAC, NAFLD and EAT were not.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Clinical Lipidology