A recent study published in Radiology, the journal of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), has found that an advanced CT test can identify individuals with stable angina who are at a reduced risk of three-year adverse outcomes, despite having a high coronary artery calcium score. The study, conducted by researchers in Denmark, assessed the three-year clinical outcomes of patients who underwent CT angiography and CT angiography-derived fractional flow reserve (CT-FFR).
CT angiography is often the first step in identifying the presence of coronary artery disease, but it does not show the impact on blood flow in the arteries. Turbulent blood flow can create abnormal pressure in the vessels, making coronary plaques prone to rupture. To address this, CT-FFR uses coronary CT angiography images of the heart, artificial intelligence algorithms, and computational fluid dynamics to simulate the amount of blood flowing through the coronary arteries.
During the study, the researchers found that among the participants with normal CT-FFR results and a high coronary artery calcium score, the three-year adverse outcome rate was only 2.2%. On the other hand, participants with a high coronary artery calcium score and abnormal CT-FFR results had a much higher three-year adverse outcome rate of 9%. These findings suggest that CT-FFR has prognostic potential in patients with high coronary artery calcium scores.
According to lead researcher Dr. Kristian T. Madsen, CT-FFR provides a blood-flow estimate similar to what can be obtained through invasive heart catheterization, without the need for additional tests or invasive procedures. The results of the study indicate that CT-FFR can divide the coronary artery disease patient population by risk level, allowing clinicians to focus on improving the prognosis of high-risk patients.
Overall, this advanced CT test offers exciting prospects for the future of diagnosing and predicting outcomes in patients with stable angina.
Source: Radiology, the journal of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).