The detection and characterization of coronary artery stenosis and atherosclerosis using imaging tools are key for clinical decision-making in patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease. In this regard, imaging-based quantification can be improved by choosing the most appropriate imaging modality for diagnosis, treatment and procedural planning. In this Consensus Statement, we provide clinical consensus recommendations on the optimal use of different imaging techniques in various patient populations and describe the advances in imaging technology. Clinical consensus recommendations on the appropriateness of each imaging technique for direct coronary artery visualization were derived through a three-step, real-time Delphi process that took place before, during and after the Second International Quantitative Cardiovascular Imaging Meeting in September 2022. According to the Delphi survey answers, CT is the method of choice to rule out obstructive stenosis in patients with an intermediate pre-test probability of coronary artery disease and enables quantitative assessment of coronary plaque with respect to dimensions, composition, location and related risk of future cardiovascular events, whereas MRI facilitates the visualization of coronary plaque and can be used in experienced centres as a radiation-free, second-line option for non-invasive coronary angiography. PET has the greatest potential for quantifying inflammation in coronary plaque but SPECT currently has a limited role in clinical coronary artery stenosis and atherosclerosis imaging. Invasive coronary angiography is the reference standard for stenosis assessment but cannot characterize coronary plaques. Finally, intravascular ultrasonography and optical coherence tomography are the most important invasive imaging modalities for the identification of plaques at high risk of rupture. The recommendations made in this Consensus Statement will help clinicians to choose the most appropriate imaging modality on the basis of the specific clinical scenario, individual patient characteristics and the availability of each imaging modality.
Nature reviews. Cardiology
Department of Radiology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.