In patients with suspected angina pectoris, CT coronary angiography (CTCA) clarifies the diagnosis, directs appropriate investigations and therapies, and reduces clinical events. The effect on patient symptoms is currently unknown.
In a prospective open-label parallel group multicentre randomised controlled trial, 4146 patients with suspected angina due to coronary heart disease were randomised 1:1 to receive standard care or standard care plus CTCA. Symptoms and quality of life were assessed over 6 months using the Seattle Angina Questionnaire and Short Form 12.
Baseline scores indicated mild physical limitation (74±0.4), moderate angina stability (44±0.4), modest angina frequency (68±0.4), excellent treatment satisfaction (92±0.2) and moderate impairment of quality of life (55±0.3). Compared with standard care alone, CTCA was associated with less marked improvements in physical limitation (difference -1.74 (95% CIs, -3.34 to -0.14), p=0.0329), angina frequency (difference -1.55 (-2.85 to -0.25), p=0.0198) and quality of life (difference -3.48 (-4.95 to -2.01), p<0.0001) at 6 months. For patientsundergoing CTCA, improvements in symptoms were greatest in those diagnosed with normal coronary arteries or who had their preventative therapy discontinued, and least in those with moderate non-obstructive disease or had a new prescription of preventative therapy (p<0.001 for all).
While improving diagnosis, treatment and outcome, CTCA is associated with a small attenuation of the improvements in symptoms and quality of life due to the detection of moderate non-obstructive coronary artery disease.