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Atherosclerosis. 2011 Nov;219(1):163-70. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.07.005. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

Detection and quantification of coronary atherosclerotic plaque by 64-slice multidetector CT: a systematic head-to-head comparison with intravascular ultrasound.

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Department of Cardiology, Erasmus University Medical Center, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



We evaluated the ability of 64-slice multidetector computed tomography (MDCT)-derived plaque parameters to detect and quantify coronary atherosclerosis, using intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) as the reference standard.


In 32 patients, IVUS and 64-MDCT was performed. The MDCT and IVUS datasets of 44 coronary arteries were co-registered using a newly developed fusion technique and quantitative parameters were derived from both imaging modalities. The threshold of >0.5 mm of maximum wall thickness was used to establish plaque presence on MDCT and IVUS.


We analyzed 1364 coregistered 1-mm coronary cross-sections and 255 segments of 5-mm length. Compared with IVUS, 64-MDCT enabled correct detection in 957 of 1109 cross-sections containing plaque (sensitivity 86%). In 180 of 255 cross-sections atherosclerosis was correctly excluded (specificity 71%). On the segmental level, MDCT detected 213 of 220 segments with any atherosclerotic plaque (sensitivity 96%), whereas the presence of any plaque was correctly ruled out in 28 of 32 segments (specificity 88%). Interobserver agreement for the detection of atherosclerotic cross-sections was moderate (Cohen's kappa coefficient K=0.51), but excellent for the atherosclerotic segments (K=1.0). Pearson's correlation coefficient for vessel plaque volumes measured by MDCT and IVUS was r=0.91 (p<0.001). Bland-Altman analysis showed a slight non-significant underestimation of any plaque volume by MDCT (p=0.5), with a trend to underestimate noncalcified and overestimate mixed/calcified plaque volumes (p=0.22 and p=0.87 respectively).


MDCT is able to detect and quantify atherosclerotic plaque. Further improvement in CT resolution is necessary for more reliable assessment of very small and distal coronary plaques.

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