The purpose of this study was to compare image quality and coronary interpretability of triple-rule-out systolic and diastolic protocols in patients with acute chest pain.
Materials and Methods:
From March 2016 to October 2017 the authors prospectively enrolled patients with undifferentiated acute chest pain, who were at low to intermediate cardiovascular risk. Those with heart rate >75 bpm underwent a systolic prospectively triggered acquisition (systolic triggering [ST]), and in those with ≤75 bpm, end-diastolic triggering (DT) was instead performed. Examinations were evaluated for coronary artery disease, aortic dissection, and pulmonary embolism. Image quality was assessed using a Likert scale. Coronary arteries interpretability was evaluated both on a per-vessel and a per segment basis. The occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events was investigated.
The final study population was 189 patients. Fifty-two patients (27.5%) underwent systolic acquisition and 137 (72.5%) underwent diastolic acquisition. No significant differences in overall image quality were observed between DT and ST groups (median score 5 [interquartile ranges 4 to 5] vs. 4 [interquartile ranges 4 to 5], P=0.074). Although both DT and ST protocols showed low percentages of noninterpretable coronary arteries on a per-vessel (1.5% and 6.7%, respectively) and per-segment analysis (1% and 4.7%, respectively), these percentages resulted significantly higher for ST groups (P<0.001). Obstructive coronary stenosis was observed in 18 patients. Only one case of pulmonary embolism was diagnosed and no cases of aortic dissection were found in our population. No death or major adverse cardiovascular events were observed during follow-up among the 2 groups.
Results showed that triple-rule-out computed tomography angiography is a reliable technique in patients with acute chest pain and that an ST acquisition protocol could be considered an alternative acquisition protocol in patients with higher heart rate, reaching a good image quality.