Although conventional risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) have been identified and routinely used to determine risk for CHD in the general population, a systematic approach to determine population-specific risk for CHD has not been performed prospectively in those with SCI. CHD is a leading cause of death in spinal cord injury, occurring at younger ages than in the able-bodied population. Conventional risk factors for CHD are high serum concentrations of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), low serum concentrations of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), diabetes mellitus (DM), positive smoking history, and positive family history of premature CHD.
Coronary calcification (CAC) is a commonly occurring phenomenon that does not necessarily indicate significant obstructive disease. Studies have shown that a strong association exists between coronary calcification and coronary heart disease. The purpose of this study is to compare the CAC scores in persons with SCI with a historical control group of able-bodied persons from a national data base who will be matched for conventional risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD) and to determine the relationship between CAC scores and conventional and emerging risk factors for CAD.