Acute myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, and aortic dissection are diseases associated with acute chest pain and may lead to severe morbidity and mortality. These diseases may not be trivial to diagnose in the settings of emergency room. ECG-gated multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT), already established for the assessment of pulmonary embolism and aortic dissection, provides reliable information regarding the triage of patients with acute coronary syndrome in the emergency room. MDCT recently appeared to be logistically feasible and a promising comprehensive method for the evaluation of cardiac and non-cardiac chest pain in emergency department patients. The possibility to scan the entire thorax visualizing the thoracic aorta, the pulmonary arteries, and the coronary arteries could provide a new approach to the triage of acute chest pain. The inherent advantage of MDCT with cardiac state-of-the-art capabilities is the rapid investigation of the main sources of acute chest pain with a high negative predictive value. Recent studies also reports an advantage in terms of costs. With current evidence, the selection of patients with acute chest pain candidates to MDCT should remain restricted to avoid unjustified risk of ionizing radiation.

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European Journal of Radiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Runza, G., la Grutta, L., Alaimo, V., Evola, S., Lo Re, F., Bartolotta, T., … Midiri, M. (2007). Comprehensive cardiovascular ECG-gated MDCT as a standard diagnostic tool in patients with acute chest pain. European Journal of Radiology, 64(1), 41–47. doi:10.1016/j.ejrad.2007.06.020