Impact of intracoronary assessments on revascularization decisions: A contemporary evaluation

Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2022 Nov;100(6):955-963. doi: 10.1002/ccd.30417. Epub 2022 Oct 19.


Objectives: To investigate the real-world implementation of intracoronary assessment (ICA) techniques and evaluate their impact on clinical decisions regarding the management of coronary artery disease (CAD) in contemporary practice.

Background: Coronary angiogram is the gold standard used to diagnose vessel stenosis and guide percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI); however, it is limited by its two-dimensional imaging capabilities. ICA techniques like intravascular ultrasound and optical coherence tomography capture the vessel in three-dimensional images. Comparatively, fractional flow reserve provides information on the physiologic significance of coronary stenosis. Both techniques may improve PCI outcomes if they routinely change physician behavior.

Methods: Patients who underwent ICA between August 2015 and March 2020 were included in the study. The primary outcome was the clinical impact of ICA on physician clinical decision making of a stenotic vessel. The secondary outcome was the clinical changes that occurred following ICA.

Results: A total of 1135 patients were included in the study. Physiologic assessment (PA) and image assessment (IA) were performed in 61.4% and 38.6% respectively. Management plans were changed in 38.1% and 23.9% of patients who received PA and IA. Over half of the management change resulted in physicians deciding to not intervene on the stenotic vessel. One-year outcome of these decisions showed no significant increase in major adverse cardiac events (hazard ratio [HR], 0.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.40-1.15; p = 0.15) or unplanned revascularization (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.35-1.74; p = 0.55) suggesting reliance on PA/IA data did not increase risk.

Conclusion: Selected ICA alters physician management of CAD in one-third of patients being evaluated for revascularization-typically leading to fewer interventions. All cause death is numerally lower in patients that received a change in management. However, the 1-year outcome of these altered decisions does not appear to be significantly different.

Keywords: clinical decision making; fractional flow reserve; intravascular ultrasound; optical coherence tomography; percutaneous coronary intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Angiography / methods
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / complications
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / therapy
  • Coronary Stenosis* / complications
  • Coronary Stenosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Stenosis* / therapy
  • Fractional Flow Reserve, Myocardial* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention* / adverse effects
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention* / methods
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Treatment Outcome