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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2008 April;56(2):215-26


language: English

Multi-slice computed tomography coronary angiography: anatomic vs functional assessment in clinical practice

Van Werkhoven J. M. 1, 2, Schuijf J. D. 1, Jukema J. W. 1, 2, Van Der Wall E. E 1, 2, Bax J. J. 1

1 Department of Cardiology Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden The Netherlands 2 The Interuniversity Cardiology Institute of the Netherlands Utrecht, the Netherlands


Non-invasive imaging plays an increasingly important role in the diagnosis and risk stratification of coronary artery disease (CAD). Several techniques such as stress echocardiography and myocardial perfusion imaging have become available to assess cardiac function and myocardial perfusion. With the arrival of multi-slice computed tomography coronary angiography (CTA), non-invasive imaging of coronary anatomy has also become possible. Studies concerning the diagnostic accuracy have demonstrated a good agreement with conventional coronary angiography resulting in a sensitivity and specificity of approximately 86% and 96%, respectively. The high negative predictive value of 97% renders it particularly useful to rule out the presence of CAD in patients with an intermediate pretest likelihood. Moreover, comparative studies have demonstrated that anatomic imaging with CTA may provide information complementary to the traditionally used techniques for functional assessment. From these studies can be derived that only approximately 50% of significant stenoses on CTA are functionally relevant; a large proportion of significant (>50%) lesions on CTA does not result in perfusion abnormalities. Alternatively, many patients with a normal perfusion CTA show considerable atherosclerosis on CTA. Therefore, the combined use of these techniques may enhance the assessment of the presence and extent of CAD. In the future diagnostic algorithms, combining non-invasive anatomic and functional imaging need to be evaluated in large patient populations to establish their efficacy, safety, and cost effectiveness. Importantly, these investigations should result in the development of comprehensive guidelines on the use of CTA in clinical practice as well.

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