Diagnosis of ischemia-causing coronary stenoses by noninvasive fractional flow reserve computed from coronary computed tomographic angiograms. Results from the prospective multicenter DISCOVER-FLOW (Diagnosis of Ischemia-Causing Stenoses Obtained Via Noninvasive Fractional Flow Reserve) study

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 Nov 1;58(19):1989-97. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2011.06.066.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the diagnostic performance of a new method for quantifying fractional flow reserve (FFR) with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) applied to coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) data in patients with suspected or known coronary artery disease (CAD).

Background: Measurement of FFR during invasive coronary angiography is the gold standard for identifying coronary artery lesions that cause ischemia and improves clinical decision-making for revascularization. Computation of FFR from CCTA data (FFR(CT)) provides a noninvasive method for identifying ischemia-causing stenosis; however, the diagnostic performance of this new method is unknown.

Methods: Computation of FFR from CCTA data was performed on 159 vessels in 103 patients undergoing CCTA, invasive coronary angiography, and FFR. Independent core laboratories determined FFR(CT) and CAD stenosis severity by CCTA. Ischemia was defined by an FFR(CT) and FFR ≤0.80, and anatomically obstructive CAD was defined as a CCTA with stenosis ≥50%. Diagnostic performance of FFR(CT) and CCTA stenosis was assessed with invasive FFR as the reference standard.

Results: Fifty-six percent of patients had ≥1 vessel with FFR ≤0.80. On a per-vessel basis, the accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were 84.3%, 87.9%, 82.2%, 73.9%, 92.2%, respectively, for FFR(CT) and were 58.5%, 91.4%, 39.6%, 46.5%, 88.9%, respectively, for CCTA stenosis. The area under the receiver-operator characteristics curve was 0.90 for FFR(CT) and 0.75 for CCTA (p = 0.001). The FFR(CT) and FFR were well correlated (r = 0.717, p < 0.001) with a slight underestimation by FFR(CT) (0.022 ± 0.116, p = 0.016).

Conclusions: Noninvasive FFR derived from CCTA is a novel method with high diagnostic performance for the detection and exclusion of coronary lesions that cause ischemia.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01189331.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coronary Angiography*
  • Coronary Stenosis / complications
  • Coronary Stenosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Fractional Flow Reserve, Myocardial*
  • Humans
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01189331