, Volume 22, Issue 12, pp 2688-2698
Date: 15 Jul 2012

Diagnostic performance of coronary CT angiography for stenosis detection according to calcium score: systematic review and meta-analysis

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A systematic review and meta-analysis to assess sensitivity and specificity of coronary CT angiography (CCTA) for significant stenosis at different degrees of coronary calcification.


A literature search was performed including studies describing test characteristics of CCTA for significant stenosis, performed with at least 16-MDCT and according to calcium score (CS). Invasive coronary angiography was the reference standard. Pooled sensitivity and specificity of CCTA by CS categories and CT equipment were calculated.


Of 14,121 articles, 51 studies reported on the impact of calcium scoring on diagnostic performance of CCTA and could be included in the systematic review. Twenty-seven of these studies (5,203 participants) were suitable for meta-analysis. On a patient-basis, sensitivity of CCTA for significant stenosis was 95.8, 95.6, 97.6 and 99.0% for CS 0–100, 101–400, 401–1,000 and >1,000 respectively. Specificity was 91.2, 88.2, 50.6 and 84.0% respectively. Specificity of CCTA was significantly lower for CS 401–1,000 due to lack of patients without significant stenosis. Sensitivity and specificity of 16-MDCT were significantly lower compared to more modern CT systems.


Even in cases of severe coronary calcification, sensitivity and specificity of CCTA for significant stenosis are high. With 64-MDCT and newer CT systems, a CS cut-off for performing CCTA no longer seems indicated.

Key Points

Decisions about performing coronary CT angiography (CCTA) sometimes depend on calcium scoring.

CCTA is highly sensitive for coronary stenosis.

With 16-MDCT, however, heavy calcification reduces specificity for significant stenosis.

For 64-MDCT (and above), CCTA has high specificity, even with severe coronary calcification.