Rates of downstream invasive coronary angiography and revascularization: computed tomographic coronary angiography vs. Tc-99m single photon emission computed tomography

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Computed tomographic coronary angiography (CTA) appears to be a useful modality for the detection of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD). Recent data suggest that CTA may reduce the frequency of normal invasive coronary angiograms. However, there remains concern that the implementation of CTA could increase referrals to invasive coronary angiography (ICA). To further support the clinical acceptance of CTA, it is important to compare CTA to another accepted modality such as single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). We followed a cohort of 64-slice CTA patients and a matched cohort of Tc-99m SPECT patients to determine downstream referrals for ICA and revascularization.

Methods and results

Consecutive CTA patients (without history of revascularization or cardiac transplantation) were prospectively enrolled and compared with a Tc-99m SPECT cohort (matched for age, gender, and Morise score). Each CTA and SPECT was evaluated for obstructive CAD and patients were followed for downstream ICA and revascularization. Of the 1221 patients in each cohort, 129 (10.6%) CTA patients and 125 (10.2%) SPECT patients were referred to ICA. Of those referred to ICA, obstructive CAD was confirmed in 105 (81.4%) CTA patients and in 88 (70.4%) SPECT patients. Differences in false positive rates were significantly lower in the CTA than the SPECT cohort (9.7 and 25.8%, respectively, P = 0.009). Rates of revascularization were similar in the CTA and SPECT cohorts (6.2 vs. 5.9%, respectively).


Compared with SPECT, CTA had similar referrals for ICA and revascularization rates but lower false positive rates. Computed tomographic coronary angiography appears to be a viable non-invasive diagnostic modality and does not appear to negatively impact upon ICA resources.

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