Learning Center

Learning Center

Reading Abdominal Aortic Calcification from VFA Lateral Spine Images and Its Relationship with Cardiovascular Disease and Fractures

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Abdominal aortic calcification or “AAC” is a stable marker of CVD that can be semi-quantified using images for vertebral fracture assessment. This session provides an overview of the methodology for scoring, pitfalls and tips for readers, as well as discussing the association between AAC with CVD and fractures and the potential for patient management. Originally offered live as an On Demand session at the 2021 Virtual Annual meeting.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe how abdominal aortic calcification is scored on images taken for vertebral fracture assessment
  2. Describe the association between abdominal aortic calcification, cardiovascular disease and fracture.
  3. Describe two ways abdominal aortic calcification may influence patient management or primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.


Joshua Richard Lewis, PhD

Associate Professor

Edith Cowan University

Associate Professor Joshua Lewis leads the disorders of mineralisation research group within the School of Medical and Health Sciences at Edith Cowan University and is an early-mid career epidemiologist and clinical trialist with 11 years post-doctoral experience. He is a National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow and his research focusses on the convergence between bone and vascular biology with a particular focus on vascular calcification. This research seeks to identify individuals with clinically unrecognised disease so that early nutritional and lifestyle intervention can be implemented to prevent the progression to heart attacks and strokes. He works with international research groups and is currently participating in large international efforts to identify factors associated with osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease and leads international efforts to understand the pathophysiology and clinical implications of abdominal aortic calcification using different modalities and in different clinical populations. This international collaboration aims to improve reliability, generalizability and validity of epidemiological findings for abdominal aortic calcification using images form bone density machines. His overarching research aims are to develop better ways to identify and prevent disease before the onset of clinical symptoms. His research has been published in leading international medical journals such as Nature, the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Lancet Planetary Health, Nature Communications, the Journal of the American Heart Association, Nature Genetics, Archives of Internal Medicine and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. His research regularly receives national and international media attention and has attracted more than $3 million in funding from national peer reviewed grants and scholarships.

John T. Schousboe, MD, PhD

Director, Park Nicollet Osteoporosis Center

Research Investigator Park Nicollet Clinic and HealthPartners Institute, HealthPartners, Minneapolis, MN

John Schousboe is a rheumatologist, health services researcher, and expert in the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis. He is the Director of the Osteoporosis Center at Park Nicollet Clinic, a subsidiary of HeatlhPartners. His research interests are in the areas of vertebral fracture epidemiology and assessment, abdominal aortic calcification, fracture risk assessment, health care costs attributable to fractures, and cost-effectiveness of diagnostic procedures for osteoporosis and fracture prevention interventions.

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