New NEJM Study Shows the Value of Coronary CTA in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

We know that Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (Coronary CTA) can improve the level of diagnostic certainty when evaluating patients with stable chest pain suggestive of a coronary disease. However, coronary CTA’s effects on clinical outcomes after five years has been unknown… until now.

A clinical trial was conducted by the SCOT-HEART (Scottish Computed Tomography of the Heart) Investigators. There were 4,146 participants ages 18-75 with stable chest pain suggestive of coronary disease. They were randomly placed into two groups to be evaluated using standard care (n=2,073) and coronary CTA (n=2,073). Follow-up was done over the next 3-7 years by conducting investigations and evaluating treatment and clinical outcomes. Their findings were recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“The study results showed that including coronary CTA in the imaging workup of patients with suspected coronary disease decreases the mortality by 40% in 5 years,” says Karen Ordovas, MD, MAS, director of cardiac imaging and co-chair of the Cardiovascular Research Interest Group (RIG). “It shows tremendous value for using coronary CTA to study patients with suspected coronary artery disease.”

Coronary CT Angiography (Coronary CTA) is a non-invasive technique which can provide clear depiction of the coronary arteries and has been shown to deliver similar results to invasive coronary angiography for detection of significant coronary stenosis at lower cost. UCSF Radiology offers Coronary CTA.  With modern radiation control techniques, our scanners are able to acquire accurate coronary CT images using one-third of the radiation generally necessary for standard invasive coronary angiography.

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