Computed tomography versus exercise electrocardiography in patients with stable chest complaints: Real-world experiences from a fast-track chest pain clinic
Objective: To compare the diagnostic performance of CT angiography (CTA) and exercise electrocardiography (XECG) in a symptomatic population with a low-intermediate prevalence of coronary artery disease (CAD). Design: Prospective registry. Setting: Tertiary university hospital. Patients: 471 consecutive ambulatory patients with stable chest pain complaints, mean (SD) age 56 (10), female 227 (48%), pre-test probability for significant CAD >5%. Intervention: All patients were intended to undergo both 64-slice, dual-source CTA and an XECG. Clinically driven quantitative catheter angiography was performed in 98 patients. Main outcome measures: Feasibility and interpretability of, and association between, CTA and XECG, and their diagnostic performance with invasive coronary angiography as reference. Results: CTA and XECG could not be performed in 16 (3.4%) vs 48 (10.2%, p<0.001), and produced nondiagnostic results in 3 (0.7%) vs 140 (33%, p<0.001). CTA showed ≥1 coronary stenosis (≥50%) in 140 patients (30%), XECG was abnormal in 93 patients (33%). Results by CTA and XECG matched for 185 patients (68%, p=0.63). Catheter angiography showed obstructive CAD in 57/98 patients (58%). Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value of CTA to identify patients with ≥50% stenosis was 96%, 37%, 67% and 88%, respectively; compared with XECG: 71%, 76%, 80% and 66%, respectively. Quantitative CTA slightly overestimated diameter stenosis: 6 (21)% (R=0.71), compared with QCA. Of the 312 patients (66%) with a negative CTA, 44 (14%) had a positive XECG, but only 2/17 who underwent catheter angiography had significant CAD. Conclusion: CTA is feasible and diagnostic in more patients than XECG. For interpretable studies, CTA has a higher sensitivity, but lower specificity for detection of CAD.