The European Society of Cardiology recommends coronary computed tomography (CCT) for the assessment of low-risk patients with suspected stable angina. We aimed to assess in a real-life setting the relative clinical value of stress echocardiography (SE)- and CCT-guided management in this population.
Patients with stable chest pain and no prior history of coronary artery disease (CAD) who underwent CCT or SE as the initial investigative strategy were propensity-matched (990 patients each group-age: 59 ± 13.2 years, males: 47.9%) to account for baseline differences in cardiovascular risk factors. Inconclusive tests were 6% vs. 3% (P < 0.005) in CCT vs. SE. Severe (≥70% stenosis) on CCT and inducible ischaemia on SE detected obstructive CAD by invasive coronary angiography in 63% vs. 57% patients (P = 0.33). Over the follow-up period (median 717, interquartile range 93-1069 days) more patients underwent invasive coronary angiography (21.5% vs. 7.3%, P < 0.005), revascularization (7.3% vs. 3.5%, P < 0.005), further functional testing 33.4% vs. 8.7% (P < 0.005), but more patients were prescribed statins 8.8% vs. 3.8% (P < 0.005) in the CCT vs. the SE arm, respectively. Combined all-cause mortality and acute myocardial infarction was low-CCT-2.3% and SE-3.3%-with no significant difference (P = 0.16).
Initial SE-guided management was similar for the detection of obstructive CAD, demonstrated better resource utilization, but was associated with reduced prescription of statins although with no difference in medium-term outcome compared to CCT in this very low-risk population. However, a randomized study with longer follow-up is needed to confirm the clinical value of our findings.

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