Coronary magnetic resonance angiography for the detection of coronary stenoses

N Engl J Med. 2001 Dec 27;345(26):1863-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa010866.


Background: An accurate, noninvasive technique for the diagnosis of coronary disease would be an important advance. We investigated the accuracy of coronary magnetic resonance angiography among patients with suspected coronary disease in a prospective, multicenter study.

Methods: Coronary magnetic resonance angiography was performed during free breathing in 109 patients before elective x-ray coronary angiography, and the results of the two diagnostic procedures were compared.

Results: A total of 636 of 759 proximal and middle segments of coronary arteries (84 percent) were interpretable on magnetic resonance angiography. In these segments, 78 (83 percent) of 94 clinically significant lesions (those with a > or = 50 percent reduction in diameter on x-ray angiography) were also detected by magnetic resonance angiography. Overall, coronary magnetic resonance angiography had an accuracy of 72 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 63 to 81 percent) in diagnosing coronary artery disease. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for patients with disease of the left main coronary artery or three-vessel disease were 100 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 97 to 100 percent), 85 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 78 to 92 percent), and 87 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 81 to 93 percent), respectively. The negative predictive values for any coronary artery disease and for left main artery or three-vessel disease were 81 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 73 to 89 percent) and 100 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 97 to 100 percent), respectively.

Conclusions: Among patients referred for their first x-ray coronary angiogram, three-dimensional coronary magnetic resonance angiography allows for the accurate detection of coronary artery disease of the proximal and middle segments. This noninvasive approach reliably identifies (or rules out) left main coronary artery or three-vessel disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Stenosis / diagnosis*
  • Coronary Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography* / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity