To examine the utility of repeated computed tomography (CT) coronary artery calcium (CAC) testing, we assessed risks of detectable CAC and its cardiovascular consequences in individuals with and without type 2 diabetes ages 45–85 years.


We included 5,836 individuals (618 with type 2 diabetes, 2,972 without baseline CAC) from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. With logistic and Cox regression we evaluated the impact of type 2 diabetes, diabetes treatment duration, and other predictors on prevalent and incident CAC. We used time-dependent Cox modeling of follow-up data (median 15.9 years) for two repeat CT exams and cardiovascular events to assess the association of CAC at follow-up CT with cardiovascular events.


For 45 year olds with type 2 diabetes, the likelihood of CAC at baseline was 23% vs. 17% for those without. Median age at incident CAC was 52.2 vs. 62.3 years for those with and without diabetes, respectively. Each 5 years of diabetes treatment increased the odds and hazard rate of CAC by 19% (95% CI 8–33) and 22% (95% CI 6–41). Male sex, White ethnicity/race, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, and low serum creatinine also increased CAC. CAC at follow-up CT independently increased coronary heart disease rates.


We estimated cumulative CAC incidence to age 85 years. Patients with type 2 diabetes develop CAC at a younger age than those without diabetes. Because incident CAC is associated with increased coronary heart disease risk, the value of periodic CAC-based risk assessment in type 2 diabetes should be evaluated.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.14365538.

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