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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2017 June;65(3):214-24

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4725.16.04291-2


language: English

Is there still a role for cardiac CT in the emergency department in the era of highly-sensitive troponins?

Admir DEDIC 1, Koen NIEMAN 2, Udo HOFFMANN 3, 4, Maros FERENCIK 3, 4, 5

1 Departments of Cardiology and Radiology, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; 2 Cardiovascular Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA; 3 Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; 4 Cardiac MR PET CT Program, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; 5 Knight Cardiovascular Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA


Physicians practicing cardiovascular medicine are every day confronted with patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Over the years, there have been substantial technical advances, such as the introduction of new non-invasive imaging techniques and the introduction of new highly sensitive cardiac biomarkers. Physicians have adopted these new assets and have become more experienced with them thus improving medical care. Nevertheless, the search for an efficient, yet safe diagnostic work-up for patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of ACS is ongoing. A large proportion of patients will require some form of non-invasive testing and the choice for the diagnostic modality as well as its timing are important steps in this process. Cardiac computed tomography (CT), a non-invasive imaging technique that rapidly provides visualization of the coronary artery tree, is an attractive option, with its unparalleled negative predictive value for obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD). With the introduction of highly-sensitive troponins (hsTn), the role of non-invasive testing, including cardiac CT, has changed. This review will provide an oversight on what is known about cardiac CT in acute chest presentations. Furthermore, we will discuss the changing role of cardiac CT in the era of hsTn and the possibility of their combined use in the work-up of suspected ACS patients. hsTn is currently an established tool for the diagnosis and triage of patients with suspected ACS. The role of cardiac CT has shifted now to a secondary, comprehensive rule-out test in patients with inconclusive biomarker status, providing information on stenosis severity, plaque burden, high-risk features and the presence of other serious conditions that can also give rise to hsTn.

KEY WORDS: Cardiac imaging techniques - X-ray computed tomography - Coronary angiography - Troponin - Acute coronary syndrome - Chest pain

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Publication History

Issue published online: April 13, 2017
Article first published online: November 25, 2016

Cite this article as

Dedic A, Nieman K, Hoffmann U, Ferencik M. Is there still a role for cardiac CT in the emergency department in the era of highly-sensitive troponins? Minerva Cardioangiol 2017;65:214-24. DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4725.16.04291-2

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