Non-invasive methods for detection of coronary atherosclerosis have been limited to indirect markers, such as myocardial perfusion or wall motion during exercise or pharmacological stress. However, advances in multislice computed tomography (MSCT) not allow sufficient spatial resolution for direct non-invasive imaging of the coronary arteries. This review focuses on imaging techniques and clinical applications of MSCT in human studies. Published studies of the diagnostic accuracy of MSCT in native coronary arteries and bypass grafts indicate excellent sensitivity and specificity for detection of 50% diameter stenosis. MSCT is particularly good for evaluating the origin and course of anomalous coronary arteries. MSCT offers the ability to visualise both the lumen and wall of artery, as well as to quantify coronary classification. Further technical developments promise to render MSCT the ideal non-invasive tool for direct visualisation of the coronary arteries.
- CAD, coronary artery disease
- EBCT, electron beam computed tomography
- LAD, left anterior descending
- MSCT, multislice computed tomography
- RCA, right coronary artery
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Published Online First 30 December 2005
Competing interests: PAG receives grant support from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Guidant, Medtronic, POINT Biomedical, Evalve Inc, and the National Institutes of Health of the United States of America. JMS is a speaker consultant for GE Healthcare.