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Contrast enhanced electron beam computed tomography to analyse the coronary arteries in patients after acute myocardial infarction
  1. S Achenbach,
  2. D Ropers,
  3. M Regenfus,
  4. G Muschiol,
  5. W G Daniel,
  6. W Moshage
  1. Department of Internal Medicine II, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Östliche Stadtmauerstr 29, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany
  1. Dr Achenbach email: stephan.achenbach{at}


OBJECTIVE To evaluate the accuracy of contrast enhanced electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) after acute myocardial infarction in determining patency of the infarct related artery and detecting high grade stenoses and occlusions in the coronary vessels.

DESIGN Case study using blinded comparison with invasive coronary angiography.

PATIENTS 36 patients (mean age 53 years) 4–70 days after acute myocardial infarction.

INTERVENTIONS The patients were studied by EBCT and invasive coronary angiography. For EBCT, 50 axial images of the heart (3 mm slice thickness) were acquired. They were triggered by the ECG during breath holding, after intravenous injection of contrast agent. The original images, surface reconstructions, and maximum intensity projections were evaluated for the presence of high grade stenoses and occlusions of the coronary arteries.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES EBCT results were compared with invasive coronary angiography.

RESULTS Of a total of 144 coronary arteries (left main, left anterior descending, left circumflex, and right coronary artery in 36 patients), 29 (20%) were unevaluable by EBCT. In the remaining arteries, 33 of 36 high grade lesions were correctly detected (92% sensitivity). Specificity was also 92% (73/79). Patency of the infarct related artery was correctly detected in 15 of 16 cases (94%). Five of the 14 occluded infarct related arteries (35%) were mistaken as stenotic but patent, and six could not be assessed.

CONCLUSIONS EBCT is very accurate in detecting significant coronary artery lesions in patients after acute myocardial infarction, but differentiation between occluded and patent infarct related arteries is currently unreliable.

  • electron beam CT
  • coronary angiography
  • myocardial infarction
  • computed tomography

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