The Use and Efficacy of FFR-CT: Real-World Multicenter Audit of Clinical Data With Cost Analysis

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2023 Aug;16(8):1056-1065. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2023.02.005. Epub 2023 Apr 12.


Background: Fractional flow reserve-computed tomography (FFR-CT) is endorsed by UK and U.S. chest pain guidelines, but its clinical effectiveness and cost benefit in real-world practice are unknown.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to audit the use of FFR-CT in clinical practice against England's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance and assess its diagnostic accuracy and cost.

Methods: A multicenter audit was undertaken covering the 3 years when FFR-CT was centrally funded in England. For coronary computed tomographic angiograms (CCTAs) submitted for FFR-CT analysis, centers provided data on symptoms, CCTA and FFR-CT findings, and subsequent management. Audit standards included using FFR-CT only in patients with stable chest pain and equivocal stenosis (50%-69%). Diagnostic accuracy was evaluated against invasive FFR, when performed. Follow-up for nonfatal myocardial infarction and all-cause mortality was undertaken. The cost of an FFR-CT strategy was compared to alternative stress imaging pathways using cost analysis modeling.

Results: A total of 2,298 CCTAs from 12 centers underwent FFR-CT analysis. Stable chest pain was the main symptom in 77%, and 40% had equivocal stenosis. Positive and negative predictive values of FFR-CT were 49% and 76%, respectively. A total of 46 events (2%) occurred over a mean follow-up period of 17 months; FFR-CT (cutoff: 0.80) was not predictive. The FFR-CT strategy costs £2,102 per patient compared with an average of £1,411 for stress imaging.

Conclusions: In clinical practice, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence criteria for using FFR-CT were met in three-fourths of patients for symptoms and 40% for stenosis. FFR-CT had a low positive predictive value, making its use potentially more expensive than conventional stress imaging strategies.

Keywords: FFR-CT; coronary CT angiography; stable chest pain.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Chest Pain
  • Computed Tomography Angiography / methods
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Coronary Angiography / methods
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / therapy
  • Coronary Stenosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Stenosis* / therapy
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Fractional Flow Reserve, Myocardial*
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed