Cardiologist concordance with the American College of Cardiology appropriate use criteria for cardiac testing in patients with coronary artery disease

Am J Cardiol. 2012 Aug 1;110(3):337-44. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.03.026. Epub 2012 Apr 23.


The American College of Cardiology Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) were developed to guide use of myocardial perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography (MPS), stress echocardiography, and cardiac computed tomographic angiography (CCTA). To date, cardiologist application of AUC from a patient-based multiprocedure perspective has not been evaluated. A Web-based survey of 15 clinical vignettes spanning a wide spectrum of indications for MPS, STE, and CCTA in coronary artery disease was administered to cardiologists who rated the ordered test as appropriate, inappropriate, or uncertain by AUC application and suggested a preferred alternative imaging procedure, if any. In total 129 cardiologists responded to the survey (mean age 49.5 years, board certification for MPS 65%, echocardiography 39%, CCTA 32%). Cardiologists agreed with published AUC ratings 65% of the time, with differences in all categories (appropriate, 50% vs 53%; inappropriate, 42% vs 20%; uncertain, 9% vs 27%, p <0.0001 for all comparisons). Physician age, practice type, or board certification in MPS or echocardiography had no effect on concordance with AUC ratings, with slightly higher agreement for those board certified in CCTA (68% vs 64%, p = 0.04). Cardiologist procedure preference was positively associated with active clinical interpretation of MPS and CCTA (p = 0.03 for the 2 comparisons) but not for ownership of the respective imaging equipment. In conclusion, cardiologist agreement with published AUC ratings is generally high, although physicians classify more uncertain indications as inappropriate. Active clinical interpretation of a procedure contributes most to increased procedure preference.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiology*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Heart Function Tests*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*