Impact of Coronary Artery Calcium Characteristics on Accuracy of CT Angiography

OBJECTIVES: This study sought to evaluate which specific calcium characteristics impact diagnostic accuracy of coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA). Coronary calcifications comprise one of the most significant factors interfering with diagnostic accuracy of coronary CTA. Despite this fact, there is paucity of data regarding this phenomenon.

METHODS: A total of 525 coronary lesions (252 calcified and 273 reference [noncalcified] lesions) within 97 arteries of 60 patients (19 women, age 63 ± 10 years) underwent assessment with both 2 × 64-slice computed tomography and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS). Nineteen calcium characteristics were determined. The main outcome was coronary CTA inaccuracy defined as the deviation of minimum lumen area within the calcification measured with coronary CTA from that measured with IVUS, in both absolute (mm2) and relative (%) terms.

RESULTS: Presence of calcification was found to be independently correlated to coronary CTA inaccuracy in both absolute and relative terms (p < 0.001 for both). The relative (%) inaccuracy of coronary CTA was independently correlated to total calcium length (p = 0.004), total calcium volume (p = 0.008), cross section calcium thickness (p = 0.023), cross section calcium area (p = 0.023), and cross section lumen area (p = 0.001). The absolute inaccuracy of CTA was correlated to calcium length (p = 0.010), calcium volume (p = 0.017), and cross section calcium area (p < 0.001). The presence of both total calcium arc ≥47° and mean lumen diameter of ≤2.8 mm provided the best predictive accuracy for detection of excessive lumen underestimation by CTA. The best accuracy for prediction of excessive lumen overestimation provided combination of 2 of 3 features: maximum calcium density <869 HU, OR whole calcium length <2.4 mm, OR total calcium volume <6.4 mm3.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate which specific calcium characteristics impact accuracy of coronary CTA in lumen assessment within calcified lesions. This may provide practical assistance in predicting coronary lumen underestimation or overestimation by coronary CTA, therefore mitigating risk of diagnostic errors in clinical practice. 

PMID: 24290567

Posted in Computed Tomography and tagged , , , , .

One Comment

  1. It is not only the calcium score that determines CTA accuracy, but vessel size and pattern of distrubustion.

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