Evaluation of the Efficacy of Computed Tomographic Coronary Angiography in Assessing Coronary Artery Morphology and Physiology: Rationale and Study Design.
Computed tomographic coronary angiography (CTCA) is a non-invasive imaging modality, which allows plaque burden and composition assessment and detection of plaque characteristics associated with increased vulnerability. In addition, CTCA-based coronary artery reconstruction enables local haemodynamic forces assessment, which regulate plaque formation and vascular inflammation and prediction of lesions that are prone to progress and cause events. However, the use of CTCA for vulnerable plaque detection in the clinical arena remains limited. To unlock the full potential of CTCA and enable its broad use, further work is needed to develop user-friendly processing tools that will allow fast and accurate analysis of CTCA, computational fluid dynamic modelling, and evaluation of the local haemodynamic forces. The present study aims to develop a seamless platform that will overcome the limitations of CTCA and enable fast and accurate evaluation of plaque morphology and physiology. We will analyse imaging data from 70 patients with coronary artery disease who will undergo state-of-the-art CTCA and near-infrared spectroscopy-intravascular ultrasound imaging and develop and train algorithms that will take advantage of the intravascular imaging data to optimise vessel segmentation and plaque characterisation. Furthermore, we will design an advanced module that will enable reconstruction of coronary artery anatomy from CTCA, blood flow simulation, shear stress estimation, and comprehensive visualisation of vessel pathophysiology. These advances are expected to facilitate the broad use of CTCA, not only for risk stratification but also for the evaluation of the effect of emerging therapies on plaque evolution.© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.