Experts at Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands, involved 1,331 patients in their study. The subjects had suspected coronary artery disease with 50 per cent or more stenosis.
The researchers analysed 10,561 coronary artery segments during the study.
"We found a 98% sensitivity rate for detecting significant coronary artery stenosis in our patients; specificity was 91%," said Lucia J.M. Kroft, MD, and Alexander Meijer, MSc, lead authors of the study.
"The results indicate that in patients with an intermediate clinical probability of coronary artery disease, cardiac CT scans may avoid the use of invasive catheter angiography. Catheter-based angiography is currently the gold standard for coronary artery evaluation, but it is an invasive technique, has a small percentage of "major" complications and it is relatively expensive," said Drs. Kroft and Meijer.
"Radiologists, cardiologists, their patients, medical policy makers and financial controllers all have a stake in learning about the accuracy and usefulness of computer generated images of the heart. Every year, millions of people worldwide come to the emergency room with acute chest pain," said Dr. Kroft. "Multi-slice CT is increasingly being used as a daily practice in the evaluation of these patients and yet, up until now, its efficacy has not been proven. Our study has made a contribution to that direction," said Dr. Meijer.
The study has been reported in the American Journal of Roentgenology.