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J Nucl Cardiol. 2012 Apr;19(2):364-76. doi: 10.1007/s12350-012-9520-2.

A meta-analysis and systematic review of computed tomography angiography as a diagnostic triage tool for patients with chest pain presenting to the emergency department.

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  • 1Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Duke University Medical Center (DUMC), Durham, NC 27710, USA. zainab.samad@duke.edu



To assess clinical utility of computed tomography angiography (CTA) in the diagnosis of chest pain patients presenting to emergency departments (EDs), we conducted a meta-analysis of CTA in patients with suspected acute coronary syndromes (ACSs).


386 studies were identified on initial review of literature. Inclusion criteria were: (1) prospective study with ≥1 month follow-up, (2) use of CTA in the ED setting, (3) use of ACC/AHA definitions for ACS and robust assessment of major adverse cardiac events, (4) ≥30 patients, and (5) study population with initial non-diagnostic ECGs and negative biomarkers.


Nine studies (N = 1349) formed the data set. The pooled patient population was 52 ± 2 years of age, 51% male, with low to intermediate pretest probability for ACS. Risk factors included 12% diabetes, 42% hypertension, 35% smokers, 29% had hyperlipidemia, and 7% known CAD. ACS was subsequently diagnosed in 10% of patients. The bivariate summary estimate of sensitivity of CTA for ACS diagnosis was 95% (95% CI 88-100) and specificity was 87% (95% CI 83-92), yielding a negative likelihood ratio of 0.06 (95% CI 0-0.14) and positive likelihood ratio of 7.4 (95% CI 4.8-10). The 30-day event rate included no deaths and no additional MIs.


Coronary CTA demonstrates a high sensitivity and a low negative likelihood ratio of 0.06, and is effective in ruling out the presence of ACS in low to intermediate risk patients presenting to the ED with acute chest pain.

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