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Clinical implication of adenosine-stress cardiac magnetic resonance imaging as potential gatekeeper prior to invasive examination in patients with AHA/ACC class II indication for coronary angiography

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Real world cardiology is faced with a low diagnostic yield of coronary angiography (CXA) in patients presenting with ACC/AHA class II CXA indication. Our aim was to analyze the clinical implication of a Cardiac MR (CMR) protocol including adenosine stress perfusion in this patient population. We examined whether CMR could enhance appropriate CXA indication and thus reduce the rate of pure diagnostic CXA. In addition, we compared the relative impact of CMR exam components (perfusion, function and viability assessment) in achieving this target.


176 patients were referred for CXA with class II indication. 171 underwent complete additional CMR exam in a 1.5-T whole body CMR-scanner for myocardial function, ischemia and viability prior to CXA. The routine protocol for assessment of CAD consisted of functional imaging (long and short axes), adenosine stress- and rest-perfusion in short axis orientation and “late enhancement” imaging in long and short axes. Images were analyzed by two independent and blinded investigators. Interobserver differences were resolved by a third reader.


There was a high association between CMR results and subsequent invasive findings (chi square for CMR perfusion deficit and stenosis >70% in CXA: 113.7, p<0.0001). 109 (63.7%) of our patients had relevant perfusion deficits as seen by CMR and matching coronary artery stenosis >70%. Four (2.3%) patients had false negative CMR findings. In 58 patients (33.9%) no relevant coronary artery stenosis could be observed, correctly predicted by CMR in 48 cases; in 10 (5.8%) patients CMR provided false positive results. Sensitivity of CMR to detect relevant CAD (>70% luminal narrowing) was 0.96, specificity 0.83, positive predictive value 0.92 and negative predictive value 0.92. Of the CMR components, perfusion deficit was the strongest independent predictor (odds ratio 132.3, p < 0.0001).


In a great number of patients being referred to cath lab with ACC/AHA class II indication for CXA, CMR provides a high accuracy for decision making regarding appropriateness of the invasive exam. CMR prior to CXA could substantially reduce pure diagnostic coronary angiographies in patients with intermediate probability for CAD, in our patient-cohort from approximately 34% to 6%. Further studies are warranted to identify rare false negative CMR results.

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Correspondence to Guenter Pilz MD, FESC.

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Pilz, G., Bernhardt, P., Klos, M. et al. Clinical implication of adenosine-stress cardiac magnetic resonance imaging as potential gatekeeper prior to invasive examination in patients with AHA/ACC class II indication for coronary angiography. Clin Res Cardiol 95, 531–538 (2006).

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