Colchicine is an affordable, ancient drug that has been prescribed for thousands of years, particularly for the inflammatory disease gout caused by uric acid crystals. This thesis demonstratea that colchicine is also able to interrupt the inflammation in the arterial wall caused by cholesterol crystals, and confirms a valid role of low-dose colchicine as a preventive treatment in patients with coronary artery calcification in the heart. Treatment can be started immediately after a heart attack, but also in patients who have been clinically stable for many years. Colchicine provides continuous efficacy during long-term treatment. Death is unaffected by low-dose colchicine. The available evidence combined with decades of experience enables clinicians to prescribe low-dose colchicine safely and long-term. Future studies will show whether colchicine can also be used as a treatment for vascular wall calcification in the legs or brain, or, possibly, for calcification of the aortic heart valve.
Tjerk Opstal (1988) graduated in Medicine at the VU University in Amsterdam in 2014, after which he worked as a resident in various hospitals. From 2016 he got involved in the LoDoCo2 study in Noordwest Ziekenhuisgroep in Alkmaar. In 2019, he continued his PhD research at the Cardiology department of Radboudumc. He is currently cardiologist-in-training at the Noordwest Hospital Group.