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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2008 Mar;27(3):310-6. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2007.11.577.

Detection of high-grade stenoses with multislice computed tomography in heart transplant patients.

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Department of Internal Medicine II, Division of Cardiology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



Post-transplant follow-up of heart transplant patients consists of repeated coronary angiography, which is associated with high costs, discomfort and risk. We sought to determine whether multislice computed tomography (MSCT) permits the exclusion or progression of coronary artery disease in heart transplant patients.


MSCT scanning (Philips CT MX 8000 IDT) and invasive coronary angiography were performed on 66 consecutive heart transplant patients. One hundred milliliters of non-ionic iodinated contrast medium was applied for CT angiography. For MSCT analysis, coronary arteries and side branches with a diameter > or =1.5 mm were assessed for the presence of luminal narrowing of >70%. MSCT results were compared with those of quantitative coronary angiography analysis.


Ten patients (17%) had one significant stenosis, whereas 3 patients (5%) had 2-vessel disease and none had 3-vessel disease. MSCT was performed successfully on 60 patients enrolled in our analysis. Forty-two of 44 patients (95%) who were estimated to be fully evaluable for MSCT were correctly classified. On per-segment-based analysis, sensitivity, specificity and positive and negative predictive values were 59%, 94%, 91% and 99.43%, respectively. After exclusion of unevaluable segments, sensitivity and specificity increased to 71% and 99.86%, respectively. On per-patient-based analysis, sensitivity, specificity and positive and negative predictive values were 88%, 97%, 88% and 97%, respectively, in evaluable transplant recipients.


MSCT with its high specificity and high negative predictive value allows the exclusion of significant coronary artery vasculopathy in evaluable patients. From the clinical point of view, this might spare additional invasive coronary angiography in heart transplant patients.

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