Author + information
- Received April 28, 2006
- Revision received June 2, 2006
- Accepted June 6, 2006
- Published online November 21, 2006.
- ↵⁎Reprint requests and correspondence:
Dr. Stephan Achenbach, Department of Cardiology, University of Erlangen–Nürnberg, Ulmenweg 18, 91054 Erlangen, Germany.
Recent developments in computed tomography technology have made imaging of the coronary arteries possible. All the same, the rapid motion and small dimensions of the coronary vessels make coronary computed tomography angiography (coronary CTA) challenging. With the last generations of 16- and 64-slice computed tomography and adequate patient preparation (which includes lowering of the heart rate), rates of sensitivity ranging from 83% to 99% and specificity between 93% and 98% have been reported for the detection of coronary artery stenoses in comparison with invasive coronary angiography. The high negative predictive value (95% to 100%) found in these studies suggests that coronary CTA may be a useful diagnostic technique to rule out the presence of coronary stenoses in selected patients, especially those with a rather low pretest likelihood of disease. Imaging of coronary artery bypass grafts is reliable, but clinical applications can be hampered by difficulties in assessing the native coronary arteries in patients after undergoing bypass because of their often-severe calcification. The detection of in-stent restenosis is made difficult by artifacts caused by metal, especially in smaller stents. Finally, initial reports that coronary CTA allows the detection and, to a certain extent, also the characterization and quantification of noncalcified coronary arteriosclerotic plaque are interesting, but they currently do not provide sufficient data to support clinical applications in the context of risk stratification.
- Received April 28, 2006.
- Revision received June 2, 2006.
- Accepted June 6, 2006.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation