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For Professionals: Coronary artery calcium scoring

The National Heart Foundation of Australia Position Statement: Coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Australia.¹

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death in Australia² and contributes to a significant healthcare burden.³

The National Heart Foundation of Australia has published a position statement on coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of CVD.

The Heart Foundation recognises that the evidence for coronary artery calcium scoring to refine absolute CVD risk assessment, and to guide subsequent management, is evolving. This position statement provides practical advice for health professionals on the use of coronary artery calcium scoring to assist in defining risk, in conjunction with absolute CVD risk assessment⁴, for the primary prevention of CVD in Australia.

ACCESS THE POSITION STATEMENT

What’s in the position statement?

  • New recommendations for the use of coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of CVD for the Australian population
  • New advice for incorporating recommendations for coronary artery calcium scoring into practice
  • New algorithm for approaching coronary artery calcium scoring as part of primary prevention for the Australian population
  • New evidence reviews and evidence appraisal findings
  • Summary of the risks, benefits, resource and equity considerations for coronary artery calcium scoring

How was the position statement developed?

The position statement was developed by the National Heart Foundation of Australia and considers the evidence in the context of Australian practice. The position statement was written by members of an expert reference group, including a variety of leading topic experts and health professionals. A rigorous approach was used to develop this position statement and included consultation with multiple stakeholders and established methods to assess the certainty of the evidence. The Heart Foundation acknowledges that the limited availability of Australian published literature impacts on the certainty of the evidence. Therefore, this position statement provides conditional recommendations to guide health professionals on when a coronary artery calcium score may be useful to help determine a person’s risk of heart attack.

Further information about the development process can be found in the position statement.   

Clinical resources from the position statement

To support health professionals, we have developed a clinical factsheet and algorithm from the National Heart Foundation of Australia: Position Statement on coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Australia.

Clinical factsheet: The National Heart Foundation of Australia Position Statement on coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Australia 

This clinical factsheet provides a summary of the Heart Foundation’s position statement on coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of CVD in the Australian population and includes information about:

  • What is coronary artery calcium scoring
  • The role of coronary artery calcium scoring in reclassification of absolute CVD risk
  • Summary of main recommendations and key practice points
  • Potential benefits and harms and equity of access considerations
  • Summary of selected CVD risk-enhancing factors  
  • Algorithm for incorporating conditional recommendations from the position statement for coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of CVD

DOWNLOAD THE CLINICAL FACTSHEET

Algorithm for the approach to coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of CVD for the Australian population

Coronary artery calcium scoring can have a role in reclassification of absolute CVD risk for selected people in Australia. The position statement and algorithm outline the importance of using absolute CVD risk assessment, in conjunction with coronary artery calcium scoring. Using a shared decision-making approach that considers a person’s preferences and values is essential.

DOWNLOAD THE ALGORITHM


Resources for your patients

This plain language summary of the Heart Foundation’s position statement on the use of coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of CVD can be used to facilitate a discussion with your patients. The summary has been developed to help people understand:

  • What is coronary artery calcium scoring
  • The Heart Foundation’s position statement on coronary artery calcium scoring
  • What the recommendations mean for people 

Webinar 

Watch our webinar “Driving best practice CVD prevention in a post-COVID world”. Chaired by Prof Garry Jennings, our expert panel explore the latest evidence to support CVD risk assessment and management in primary care, including the latest on coronary artery calcium scoring.
Read more 

Find out more about absolute CVD risk assessment and management
References
  1. Jennings GLR, Audehm R, Bishop W, et al. National Heart Foundation of Australia: position statement on coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Australia. Med J Aust. 2021;214(9):434-439.
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of Death 2018 [Cat. No. 3303.0]. Canberra: ABS, 2019. Available from: https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3303.0
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Health Survey: First results 2017 – 18 Australia [Cat. No. 4364.0.55.001]. Canberra: ABS, 2018. Available from: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/national-health-survey-first-results/2017-18
  4. National Vascular Disease Prevention Alliance. Guidelines for the management of absolute cardiovascular disease risk. National Stroke Foundation, 2012. Available from: http://www.cvdcheck.org.au/pdf/Absolute_CVD_Risk_Full_Guidelines.pdf

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