A non-invasive and much cheaper test for coronary disease is available when a diagnosis of CAD is uncertain. Until recently, CT Coronary Angiography (CTCA)could not adequately identify coronary artery blockages. While not accurate enough to provide a pathway necessary to identify and treat these lesions, it avoids the risks and high costs of cardiac catherization, an important benefit. CTCA is most useful in patients with moderate risk for coronary artery disease.
A new study published earlier this month examined patients for evaluation of chest symptoms. The study found that patients with high risk for cornary artery disease (CAD) should undergo invasive cardiac catherization, while low risk patients don’t need follow-up testing.
In patients with an intermediate pretest likelihood of disease (a “20-80% risk”), a positive CTCA was linked to a very high probability of coronary artery disease, whereas a negative result suggested that there was no need for additional tests or catherization.
(From: Diagnostic Accuracy and Clinical Utility of Noninvasive Testing for Coronary Artery Disease, Weustink et al., Ann Intern Med. 2010;152:630-639)