Aortic calcification

Aortic calcification (lateral radiographs)

LASA filenames:

Contact: Natasja van Schoor


In the Framingham Heart Study, it was shown that middle-aged men and women with calcific disease in the abdominal aorta are more likely to develop coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and CVD mortality (2).

Measurement instruments in LASA

LASA respondents who participated in the C-examination (1995/1996), were born in 1930 and before (aged 65 years and older as of 1 January, 1996) and were living in the west of the Netherlands (Amsterdam and its surroundings) were invited to the VU University Medical Center for a spinal lateral radiograph. Of the 695 respondents who were invited, 535 respondents (77%) were willing to come to the hospital. Non-responders were older, had more functional limitations and lower self-perceived health, but had a similar gender distribution (1). Valid spinal radiographs were obtained in 527 of these participants. Only respondents with a valid lateral radiograph at LASA-C were invited for a repeated lateral radiograph at LASA-D examination (1998/1999). In total, 338 subjects had a valid repeated spinal radiograph at LASA-D.

In addition to assessment of vertebral deformities and disc degeneration, the degree of aortic atherosclerosis was examined on the lateral radiographs of LASA-C and LASA-D. On each radiograph, the length of the aorta was examined with a ruler, and subsequently scored as: 1: no aortic atherosclerosis; 2: aortic atherosclerosis 1 cm; 3: aortic atherosclerosis 2-5 cm; 4: aortic atherosclerosis 6-10 cm; 5: aortic atherosclerosis >10 cm.

Availability of information per wave


Aortic calcification


¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort

Previous use in LASA

Aortic calcification was used as a mediator in research of Holvik et al. (2014), exploring the relationship between osteocalcin and cardiovascular disease. A higher plasma OC concentration was associated with a reduced risk of CVD in older-old men and with an increased risk of CVD in older-old women. However, this relationship was not mediated by aortic calcification. Buizert et al. (2013) stated that the presence of serum PTH levels within the upper normal range is highly related to CVD. In the case of men, this relationship may be partly mediated by calcifications of the abdominal aorta.

  • Buizert, P.J., Van Schoor , N.M., Simsek, S., Lips, P.T.A., Heijboer, A.C., Den Heijer, M., Deeg, D.J.H., Eekhoff, E.M.W. (2013). PTH: a new target in arteriosclerosis? Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2013: 98, E1583-E1590.
  • Holvik, K., Van Schoor , N.M., Eekhoff, E.M.W., Den Heijer, M., Deeg, D.J.H., Lips, P.T.A., De Jongh, R.T. Plasma osteocalcin levels as a predictor of cardiovascular disease in older men and women: a population-based cohort study. European Journal of Endocrinology, 2014: 171, 2, 161-170.


  1. Pluijm SM, Tromp AM, Smit JH, Deeg DJ, Lips P. Consequences of vertebral deformities in older men and women. J Bone Miner Res 2000; 15(8):1564-72.
  2. Peter W.F. Wilson, Leena I. Kauppila, Christopher J. O’Donnell, Douglas P. Kiel, Marian Hannan, Joseph M. Polak, L. Adrienne Cupples. Abdominal Aortic Calcific Deposits Are an Important Predictor of Vascular Morbidity and Mortality. Circulation 2001;103:1529-1534.

Date of last update: July 30, 2015