Visualization of coronary artery anomalies and their anatomic course by contrast-enhanced electron beam tomography and three-dimensional reconstruction

Am J Cardiol. 2001 Jan 15;87(2):193-7. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(00)01315-1.


Anomalous coronary arteries are rare conditions. However, they may cause myocardial ischemia and sudden death and their reliable identification is crucial for any imaging method that attempts coronary artery visualization. We studied the ability of contrast-enhanced electron beam tomography (EBT) to identify anomalous coronary arteries and their course. Thirty patients with previously identified coronary anomalies and 30 subjects with normal coronary anatomy were studied. By EBT, 40 to 50 axial images of the heart (3-mm slice thickness, 1 mm overlap, electrocardiographic trigger) were acquired in a single breathhold during continuous injection of contrast agent (160 ml, 4 ml/s). Based on the original images and 3-dimensional reconstructions, the EBT data were analyzed by 2 blinded observers as to the presence of coronary anomalies and their course. Results were compared with invasive angiography. EBT correctly identified all normal controls and all patients with coronary anomalies. The anatomic course of the coronary anomalies was correctly classified in 29 of 30 patients (97%), including right-sided origin of the left main coronary artery (n = 4) or of the left circumflex coronary artery (n = 15), left-sided origin of the right coronary artery (n = 9), and 1 coronary fistula from the left circumflex coronary artery to the right atrium. Only the distal anastomosis of a second fistula from the left circumflex coronary artery to a bronchial artery was not correctly identified. This study demonstrates that contrast-enhanced EBT is a reliable noninvasive technique to identify anomalous coronary arteries and their course.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Contrast Media
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Vessel Anomalies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iohexol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography Scanners, X-Ray Computed
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Contrast Media
  • Iohexol
  • iopromide