Objective: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of automated coronary atherosclerotic plaque quantification (QCT) by different users (expert/non-expert/automatic). Methods: One hundred fifty coronary artery segments from 142 patients who underwent coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) were analyzed. Minimal lumen area (MLA), maximal lumen area stenosis percentage (%AS), mean plaque burden percentage (%PB), and plaque volume were measured semi-automatically by expert, non-expert, and fully automatic QCT analyses, and then compared to IVUS. Results: Between IVUS and expert QCT analysis, the correlation coefficients (r) for the MLA, %AS, %PB, and plaque volume were excellent: 0.89 (p < 0.001), 0.84 (p < 0.001), 0.91 (p < 0.001), and 0.94 (p < 0.001), respectively. There were no significant differences in the mean parameters (all p values >0.05) except %AS (p = 0.01). The automatic QCT analysis showed comparable performance to non-expert QCT analysis, showing correlation coefficients (r) of the MLA (0.80 vs. 0.82), %AS (0.82 vs. 0.80), %PB (0.84 vs. 0.73), and plaque volume (0.84 vs. 0.79) when they were compared to IVUS, respectively. Conclusion: Fully automatic QCT analysis showed clinical utility compared with IVUS, as well as a compelling performance when compared with semiautomatic analyses. Key Points: • Coronary CTA enables the assessment of coronary atherosclerotic plaque. • High-risk plaque characteristics and overall plaque burden can predict future cardiac events. • Coronary atherosclerotic plaque quantification is currently unfeasible in practice. • Quantitative computed tomography coronary plaque analysis software (QCT) enables feasible plaque quantification. • Fully automatic QCT analysis shows excellent performance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging