Cardiac CT perfusion and FFRCTA: pathophysiological features in ischemic heart disease

Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2020 Dec;10(6):1954-1978. doi: 10.21037/cdt-20-414.


Cardiac computed tomography (CCT) has rapidly evolved, becoming a powerful integrated tool for the evaluation of coronary artery disease (CAD), and being superior to other noninvasive methods due to its high accuracy and ability to simultaneously assess both lumen stenosis and atherosclerotic plaque burden. Furthermore, CCT is regarded as an effective gatekeeper for coronary angiography, and carries independent important prognostic information. In the last decade, the introduction of new functional CCT applications, namely CCT perfusion (CCTP) imaging and CT-derived fractional flow reserve (FFRCTA), has opened the door for accurate assessment of the haemodynamic significance of stenoses. These new CCT technologies, thus, share the unique advantage of assessing both myocardial ischemia and patient-specific coronary artery anatomy, providing an integrated anatomical/functional analysis. In the present review, starting from the pathophysiology of myocardial ischemia, we evaluate the existing evidence for functional CCT imaging and its value in relation to alternative, well-established, non-invasive imaging modalities and invasive indices of ischemia (currently the gold-standard). The knowledge of clinical applications, benefits, and limitations of these new CCT technologies will allow efficient and optimal use in clinical practice in the near future.

Keywords: Cardiac computed tomography (CCT); FFRCTA; cardiac CT perfusion; computational fluid dynamics (CFD); fractional flow reserve (FFR).

Publication types

  • Review