Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography Versus Radionuclide Myocardial Perfusion Imaging in Patients With Chest Pain Admitted to Telemetry: A Randomized Trial

Ann Intern Med. 2015 Aug 4;163(3):174-83. doi: 10.7326/M14-2948.


Background: The role of coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) in the management of symptomatic patients suspected of having coronary artery disease is expanding. However, prospective intermediate-term outcomes are lacking.

Objective: To compare CCTA with conventional noninvasive testing.

Design: Randomized, controlled comparative effectiveness trial. ( NCT00705458).

Setting: Telemetry-monitored wards of an inner-city medical center.

Patients: 400 patients with acute chest pain (mean age, 57 years); 63% women; 54% Hispanic and 37% African-American; and low socioeconomic status.

Intervention: CCTA or radionuclide stress myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI).

Measurements: The primary outcome was cardiac catheterization not leading to revascularization within 1 year. Secondary outcomes included length of stay, resource utilization, and patient experience. Safety outcomes included death, major cardiovascular events, and radiation exposure.

Results: Thirty (15%) patients who had CCTA and 32 (16%) who had MPI underwent cardiac catheterization within 1 year. Fifteen (7.5%) and 20 (10%) of these patients, respectively, did not undergo revascularization (difference, -2.5 percentage points [95% CI, -8.6 to 3.5 percentage points]; hazard ratio, 0.77 [CI, 0.40 to 1.49]; P = 0.44). Median length of stay was 28.9 hours for the CCTA group and 30.4 hours for the MPI group (P = 0.057). Median follow-up was 40.4 months. For the CCTA and MPI groups, the incidence of death (0.5% versus 3%; P = 0.12), nonfatal cardiovascular events (4.5% versus 4.5%), rehospitalization (43% versus 49%), emergency department visit (63% versus 58%), and outpatient cardiology visit (23% versus 21%) did not differ. Long-term, all-cause radiation exposure was lower for the CCTA group (24 versus 29 mSv; P < 0.001). More patients in the CCTA group graded their experience favorably (P = 0.001) and would undergo the examination again (P = 0.003).

Limitation: This was a single-site study, and the primary outcome depended on clinical management decisions.

Conclusion: The CCTA and MPI groups did not significantly differ in outcomes or resource utilization over 40 months. Compared with MPI, CCTA was associated with less radiation exposure and with a more positive patient experience.

Primary funding source: American Heart Association.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Chest Pain / etiology*
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Coronary Angiography / methods*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospital Units
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging*
  • Myocardial Revascularization
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Telemetry*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*

Associated data