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Br J Radiol. 2016;89(1061):20150954. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20150954. Epub 2016 Feb 11.

Chest pain: coronary CT in the ER.

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1 Centre de Recherché/Department of Radiology, Montréal Heart Institute/Universitè de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada.
2 Department of Radiology, IRCCS San Martino University Hospital-IST, Genoa, Italy.
3 Department of Cardiology, Academic Hospital, Bari, Italy.
4 Department of Radiology, Erasmus Medical Center University, Rotterdam, Netherlands.


Cardiac CT has developed into a robust clinical tool during the past 15 years. Of the fields in which the potential of cardiac CT has raised more interest is chest pain in acute settings. In fact, the possibility to exclude with high reliability obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients at low-to-intermediate risk is of great interest both from the clinical standpoint and from the management standpoint. Several other modalities, with or without imaging, have been used during the past decades in the settings of new onset chest pain or in acute chest pain for both diagnostic and prognostic assessment of CAD. Each one has advantages and disadvantages. Most imaging modalities also focus on inducible ischaemia to guide referral to invasive coronary angiography. The advent of cardiac CT has introduced a new practice diagnostic paradigm, being the most accurate non-invasive method for identification and exclusion of CAD. Furthermore, the detection of subclinical CAD and plaque imaging offer the opportunity to improve risk stratification. Moreover, recent advances of the latest generation CT scanners allow combining both anatomical and functional imaging by stress myocardial perfusion. The role of cardiac CT in acute settings is already important and will become progressively more important in the coming years.

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