Indexed on: 12 Aug '10Published on: 12 Aug '10Published in: Cardiology in review
Recent advances in multidetector-row computed tomography (MDCT) technology have created new opportunities in cardiac imaging and provided new insights into a variety of disease states. Use of 64-slice coronary computed tomography angiography has been validated for the evaluation of clinically relevant coronary artery stenosis with high negative predictive values for ruling out significant obstructive disease. This technology has also advanced the care of patients with acute chest pain by simultaneous assessment of acute coronary syndrome, pulmonary embolism, and acute aortic syndrome ("triple rule out"). Although MDCT has been instrumental in the advancement of cardiac imaging, there are still limitations in patients with high or irregular heart rates. Newer MDCT scanner generations hold promise to improve some of these limitations for noninvasive cardiac imaging. The evaluation of coronary artery stenosis remains the primary clinical indication for cardiac computed tomography angiography. However, the use of MDCT for simultaneous assessment of coronary artery stenosis, atherosclerotic plaque formation, ventricular function, myocardial perfusion, and viability with a single modality is under intense investigation. Recent technical developments hold promise for accomplishing this goal and establishing MDCT as a comprehensive stand-alone test for integrative imaging of coronary heart disease.