OBJECTIVES: The objective of the present study is to quantify the diagnostic yield of triple-rule-out (TRO) CT for the evaluation of acute chest pain in emergency department patients.
METHODS: All TRO CT studies performed at our institution from 2006 to 2015 were reviewed. Scans were performed on a 256-MDCT scanner, with the use of ECG gating and a biphasic contrast injection. Radiology reports were reviewed to identify diagnoses that could explain chest pain, including coronary and noncoronary diagnoses, and significant incidental findings that did not account for the patient’s presentation. The total numbers of coronary and noncoronary diagnoses and incidental findings were calculated.
RESULTS: Four of 1196 total cases that were identified were excluded from the study because of inadequate image quality. A total of 970 patients (81.4%) had a negative study result without a significant coronary or noncoronary diagnosis. A total of 139 patients (11.7%) had significant coronary artery disease (50% stenosis or greater). One hundred six patients (8.9%) had a noncoronary diagnosis that could explain chest pain (p < 0.02), most commonly pulmonary embolism (28 patients [2.3%]), aortic aneurysm (24 patients [2.0%]), or pneumonia (20 patients [1.7%]). Thirty cases (27.3%) of pulmonary embolism and aortic pathologic findings would not have been detected with coronary CT angiography because of unopacified right-side circulation or limited z-axis coverage. A total of 528 incidental findings not considered to explain chest pain were noted in 418 patients (35.1%).
CONCLUSIONS: In 8.9% of patients, TRO CT detected a significant noncoronary diagnosis that could explain acute chest pain, including pathologic findings that would not be identified on dedicated coronary CT angiography.