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Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2010 Jul;3(4):351-9. doi: 10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.109.880625. Epub 2010 May 11.

Incremental prognostic value of coronary CT angiography in patients with suspected coronary artery disease.

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  • 1Cardio-Thoracic-Vascular Department, Cardiovascular Radiology Unit, and Cardiology Institute, University Hospital S. Orsola, Via Massarenti 9, Bologna, Italy.



Multidetector CT coronary angiography (MDCTCA) is capable of detecting coronary artery disease (CAD) with a high diagnostic accuracy. In particular, this technique is credited with having a negative predictive value close to 100%. However, data about the prognostic value of MDCTCA are currently lacking. We sought to determine the prognostic value of MDCTCA in patients with suspected but undocumented CAD and, in particular, the incremental prognostic value as compared with clinical risk and calcium scoring.


A total of 441 patients (age, 59.7+/-11.6 years) with suspected CAD underwent MDCTCA to evaluate the presence and severity of the disease. Patients were followed up as to the occurrence of hard cardiac events (cardiac death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and unstable angina requiring hospitalization). Coronary lesions were detected in 297 (67.3%) patients. During a mean follow-up of 31.9+/-14.8 months, 44 hard cardiac events occurred in 40 patients. CT calcium scoring showed a statistically significant incremental prognostic value as compared to a baseline clinical risk model (P=0.018), whereas MDCTCA provided an additional incremental prognostic value as compared with a baseline clinical risk model plus calcium scoring if considering both nonobstructive versus obstructive CAD (P=0.016) or, better, plaque composition (calcified versus noncalcified and/or mixed plaques, P=0.0001). During follow-up, an excellent prognosis was noted in patients with normal coronary arteries, with an annualized incidence rate of 0.88% if compared with those with mild CAD (3.89%) and with patients with significant coronary disease (8.09%). The presence of noncalcified or mixed plaques, regardless of lesion severity, was found to be the strongest predictor of events (P<0.0001) as a potential marker of plaque vulnerability.


MDCTCA provides independent and incremental prognostic information as compared to baseline clinical risk factors and calcium scoring in patients with suspected CAD.

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