Background: A new generation of subsecond multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) scanners, which allow complete coronary coverage, are becoming widely available. We investigated the potential value of MSCT angiography in a range of coronary disorders.
Methods: We studied 35 patients, including 11 who had undergone percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty and four who had had coronary-artery bypass grafts, by both MSCT and conventional coronary angiography. After intravenous injection of a non-ionic contrast medium with high iodine content, the entire heart was scanned within a single breath-hold. The total examination time was no more than 20 min. The retrospective electrocardiographically gated reconstruction source images and three-dimensional reconstructed volumes were analysed by two investigators, unaware of the results of conventional angiography.
Findings: In the 31 patients without previous coronary surgery, 173 (73%) of the 237 proximal and middle coronary segments were assessable. In the assessable segments, 17 of 21 significant stenoses (>50% reduction of vessel diameter) were correctly diagnosed. The non-assessable segments included four lesions. Misinterpretations were mainly the result of severe calcification of the vessel wall. Segments with implanted stents were poorly visualised, but stent patency could be assessed in all cases. Of the 17 segments of bypass grafts, 15 were assessable and four of five graft lesions were detected. Two cases of anomalous coronary anatomy could be visualised well.
Interpretation: These preliminary data suggest that MSCT allows non-invasive imaging of coronary-artery stenoses and has potential to develop into a reliable clinical technique.