Cardiac CT: Atherosclerosis to acute coronary syndrome

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Abstract

Coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA) is a robust non-invasive method to assess coronary artery disease (CAD). Qualitative and quantitative assessment of atherosclerotic coronary stenosis with CCTA has been favourably compared with invasive coronary angiography (ICA) and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS). Importantly, it allows the study of preclinical stages of atherosclerotic disease, may help improve risk stratification and monitor the progressive course of the disease. The diagnostic accuracy of CCTA in the assessment of coronary artery bypass grafts (CABG) is excellent and the constantly improving technology is making the evaluation of stents feasible. Novel techniques are being developed to assess the functional significance of coronary stenosis. The excellent negative predictive value of CCTA in ruling out disease enables early and safe discharge of patients with suspected acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in the Emergency Department (ED). In addition, CCTA is useful in predicting clinical outcomes based on the extent of coronary atherosclerosis and also based on individual plaque characteristics such as low attenuation plaque (LAP), positive remodelling and spotty calcification. In this article, we review the role of CCTA in the detection of coronary atherosclerosis in native vessels, stented vessels, calcified arteries and grafts; the assessment of plaque progression, evaluation of chest pain in the ED, assessment of functional significance of stenosis and the prognostic significance of CCTA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430 - 448
Number of pages19
JournalCardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy
Volume4
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA)
  • acute coronary syndrome (ACS)
  • coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • vulnerable plaques
  • atherosclerosis

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