Head-to-head comparison of the diagnostic performance of coronary computed tomography angiography and dobutamine-stress echocardiography in the evaluation of acute chest pain with normal ECG findings and negative troponin tests: A prospective multicenter study

Int J Cardiol. 2017 Aug 15;241:463-469. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.02.129. Epub 2017 Mar 2.


Objective: To perform a head-to-head comparison of coronary CT angiography (CCTA) and dobutamine-stress echocardiography (DSE) in patients presenting recent chest pain when troponin and ECG are negative.

Methods: Two hundred seventeen patients with recent chest pain, normal ECG findings, and negative troponin were prospectively included in this multicenter study and were scheduled for CCTA and DSE. Invasive coronary angiography (ICA), was performed in patients when either DSE or CCTA was considered positive or when both were non-contributive or in case of recurrent chest pain during 6month follow-up. The presence of coronary artery stenosis was defined as a luminal obstruction >50% diameter in any coronary segment at ICA.

Results: ICA was performed in 75 (34.6%) patients. Coronary artery stenosis was identified in 37 (17%) patients. For CCTA, the sensitivity was 96.9% (95% CI 83.4-99.9), specificity 48.3% (29.4-67.5), positive likelihood ratio 2.06 (95% CI 1.36-3.11), and negative likelihood ratio 0.07 (95% CI 0.01-0.52). The sensitivity of DSE was 51.6% (95% CI 33.1-69.9), specificity 46.7% (28.3-65.7), positive likelihood ratio 1.03 (95% CI 0.62-1.72), and negative likelihood ratio 1.10 (95% CI 0.63-1.93). The CCTA: DSE ratio of true-positive and false-positive rates was 1.70 (95% CI 1.65-1.75) and 1.00 (95% CI 0.91-1.09), respectively, when non-contributive CCTA and DSE were both considered positive. Only one missed acute coronary syndrome was observed at six months.

Conclusions: CCTA has higher diagnostic performance than DSE in the evaluation of patients with recent chest pain, normal ECG findings, and negative troponine to exclude coronary artery disease.

Keywords: CCTA; Chest pain; Dobutamine-stress echocardiography.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chest Pain / blood*
  • Chest Pain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Chest Pain / physiopathology
  • Computed Tomography Angiography / standards*
  • Dobutamine / administration & dosage*
  • Echocardiography, Stress / standards*
  • Electrocardiography / standards*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Troponin / blood*


  • Troponin
  • Dobutamine