Comparative Effectiveness of Coronary CT Angiography and Standard of Care for Evaluating Acute Chest Pain: A Living Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Radiol Cardiothorac Imaging. 2023 Aug 24;5(4):e230022. doi: 10.1148/ryct.230022. eCollection 2023 Aug.


Purpose: To perform a living systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing the effectiveness of coronary CT angiography (CCTA) and standard of care (SOC) in the evaluation of acute chest pain (ACP).

Materials and methods: Multiple electronic databases were systematically searched, with the most recent search conducted on October 31, 2022. Studies were stratified into two groups according to the pretest probability for acute coronary syndrome (group 1 with predominantly low-to-intermediate risk vs group 2 with high risk). A meta-regression analysis was also conducted using participant risk, type of SOC used, and the use or nonuse of high-sensitivity troponins as independent variables.

Results: The final analysis included 22 randomized controlled trials (9379 total participants; 4956 assigned to CCTA arms and 4423 to SOC arms). There was a 14% reduction in the length of stay and a 17% reduction in immediate costs for the CCTA arm compared with the SOC arm. In group 1, the length of stay was 17% shorter and costs were 21% lower using CCTA. There was no evidence of differences in referrals to invasive coronary angiography, myocardial infarction, mortality, rate of hospitalization, further stress testing, or readmissions between CCTA and SOC arms. There were more revascularizations (relative risk, 1.45) and medication changes (relative risk, 1.33) in participants with low-to-intermediate acute coronary syndrome risk and increased radiation exposure in high-risk participants (mean difference, 7.24 mSv) in the CCTA arm compared with the SOC arm. The meta-regression analysis found significant differences between CCTA and SOC arms for rate of hospitalization, further stress testing, and medication changes depending on the type of SOC (P < .05).

Conclusion: The results support the use of CCTA as a safe, rapid, and less expensive in the short term strategy to exclude acute coronary syndrome in low- to intermediate-risk patients presenting with acute chest pain.Keywords: Acute Coronary Syndrome, Chest Pain, Emergency Department, Coronary Computed Tomography, Usual Care Supplemental material is available for this article. Published under a CC BY 4.0 license.

Keywords: Acute Coronary Syndrome; Chest Pain; Coronary Computed Tomography; Emergency Department; Usual Care.