Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) assessment of calcified or complex coronary lesions is frequently challenging. Transluminal attenuation gradient (TAG), defined as the linear regression coefficient between luminal attenuation and axial distance, has a potential to evaluate the degree of coronary stenosis. We examined the value of TAG in determining the stenosis severity on 64-slice coronary CTA. The value of TAG of 370 major coronary arteries was measured from 7,263 intervals of 5-mm length. Compared with coronary CTA and invasive coronary angiography, TAG decreased consistently and significantly with maximum stenosis severity on a per-vessel basis, from -1.91 ± 4.25 Hounsfield units/10 mm for diameter stenosis of 0% to 49% to -13.37 ± 9.81 Hounsfield units/10 mm for diameter stenosis of 100% (p < 0.0001). Adding TAG to the interpretation of coronary CTA improved diagnostic accuracy (p = 0.001), especially in vessels with calcified lesions (N = 127; net reclassification improvement 0.095; p = 0.046). TAG appears to be able to contribute to improved classification of coronary artery stenosis severity in coronary CTA, especially in severely calcified lesions.
- computed tomography
- coronary artery imaging
- diagnosis of coronary artery stenosis