OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), a convenient, non-radiating, readily available measurement of arterial stiffness, and coronary artery calcium (CAC), a reliable marker of coronary atherosclerosis, in a large sample of young and middle-aged asymptomatic adults; and to assess the incremental value of baPWV for detecting prevalent CAC beyond traditional risk factors. METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 15,185 asymptomatic Korean adults who voluntarily underwent a comprehensive health screening program including measurement of baPWV and CAC. BaPWV was measured using an oscillometric method with cuffs placed on both arms and ankles. CAC burden was assessed using a multi-detector CT scan and scored following Agatston's method. RESULTS: The prevalence of CAC > 0 and CAC > 100 increased across baPWV quintiles. The multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (95% CI) for CAC > 0 comparing baPWV quintiles 2-5 versus quintile 1 were 1.06 (0.87-1.30), 1.24 (1.02-1.50), 1.39 (1.15-1.69) and 1.60 (1.31-1.96), respectively (P trend < 0.001). Similarly, the relative prevalence ratios for CAC > 100 were 1.30 (0.74-2.26), 1.59 (0.93-2.71), 1.74 (1.03-2.94) and 2.59 (1.54-4.36), respectively (P trend < 0.001). For CAC > 100, the area under the ROC curve for baPWV alone was 0.71 (0.68-0.74), and the addition of baPWV to traditional risk factors significantly improved the discrimination and calibration of models for detecting prevalent CAC > 0 and CAC > 100. CONCLUSIONS: BaPWV was independently associated with the presence and severity of CAC in a large sample of young and middle-aged asymptomatic adults. BaPWV may be a valuable tool for identifying apparently low-risk individuals with increased burden of coronary atherosclerosis.