Multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) has been used for detecting or excluding coronary atherosclerotic stenosis in symptomatic patients. However, the role of MDCT for routine medical examination in asymptomatic, high-risk patients has not been established. We therefore conducted the present study to test the hypothesis that MDCT could be a valuable method for detecting subclinical coronary artery stenosis in asymptomatic patients. An observational, retrospective, single-centre study was conducted with a cohort of 1,529 patients (mean age, 56.4 ± 8.3 years; 1,353 males) who had undergone MDCT as part of their general medical checkups from November 2005 to April 2008. The patients who had a past history of coronary artery disease, typical chest pain, or evidence of myocardial ischemia were excluded. During clinical follow up of these patients, the incidence of subclinical coronary stenosis and the usefulness of MDCT for routine medical examination in asymptomatic patients were investigated. Of the 1,529 enrolled patients, 42.3% had hypertension, 13.5% had diabetes mellitus, 7.7% had hyperlipidemia, and 40.4% were current smokers. Abnormal MDCT findings were noted in 560 (36.6%) patients, who were classified into two groups. One group had the presence coronary calcium with a luminal diameter stenosis of the coronary artery of <50% (n = 508, 33.2%). These patients were treated with medication or clinical follow-up. The other group had a luminal diameter stenosis of the coronary artery of ≥50% with the presence or absence of coronary calcium (n = 52, 3.4%). These patients underwent a conventional coronary angiogram and intravascular ultrasound. A total of 29 of the 1,529 patients (1.9%) presented with insignificant stenosis or myocardial bridge, and 23 patients (1.5%) presented with significant stenosis. The patients with significant stenosis underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with stent implantation. Major adverse cardiac events occurred in only 2 patients who had been treated with PCI during a mean follow-up period of 387 ± 253 days. The incidence of significant subclinical coronary stenosis as detected by MDCT in a general medical check-up was 3.4%, and the false-positive rate of MDCT for detecting significant coronary artery stenosis was 55.8% (29/52). 64-Slice MDCT can be a useful tool for noninvasive evaluation of coronary arteries in asymptomatic patients. Further study is needed to clarify the clinical implications of MDCT in general medical check-ups.
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This study was supported by a grant (A084869) of the Korea Healthcare technology R&D Project, Ministry for Health, Welfare & Family Affairs, Republic of Korea.
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1.Departments of Cardiology, Heart Research Center Chonnam National University HospitalGwangjuKorea
2.Departments of RadiologyChonnam National University HospitalGwangjuKorea
3.Director of Cardiovascular Center, Principal Investigator of Stem Cell Research Center for Cardiovascular and Neurologic disorders, Director of Program in Gene and Cell TherapyChonnam National University HospitalGwangjuKorea