Research paper| Volume 17, ISSUE 1, P43-51, January 2023

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Implications of computed tomography reconstruction algorithms on coronary atheroma quantification: Comparison with intravascular ultrasound

Published:September 21, 2022DOI:



      Advances in coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) reconstruction algorithms are expected to enhance the accuracy of CCTA plaque quantification. We aim to evaluate different CCTA reconstruction approaches in assessing vessel characteristics in coronary atheroma using intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) as the reference standard.


      Matched cross-sections (n ​= ​7241) from 50 vessels in 15 participants with chronic coronary syndrome who prospectively underwent CCTA and 3-vessel near-infrared spectroscopy-IVUS were included. Twelve CCTA datasets per patient were reconstructed using two different kernels, two slice thicknesses (0.75 ​mm and 0.50 ​mm) and three different strengths of advanced model-based iterative reconstruction (IR) algorithms. Lumen and vessel wall borders were manually annotated in every IVUS and CCTA cross-section which were co-registered using dedicated software. Image quality was sub-optimal in the reconstructions with a sharper kernel, so these were excluded. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and repeatability coefficient (RC) were used to compare the estimations of the 6 CT reconstruction approaches with those derived by IVUS.


      Segment-level analysis showed good agreement between CCTA and IVUS for assessing atheroma volume with approach 0.50/5 (slice thickness 0.50 ​mm and highest strength 5 ADMIRE IR) being the best (total atheroma volume ICC: 0.91, RC: 0.67, p ​< ​0.001 and percentage atheroma volume ICC: 0.64, RC: 14.06, p ​< ​0.001). At lesion-level, there was no difference between the CCTA reconstructions for detecting plaques (accuracy range: 0.64–0.67; p ​= ​0.23); however, approach 0.50/5 was superior in assessing IVUS-derived lesion characteristics associated with plaque vulnerability (minimum lumen area ICC: 0.64, RC: 1.31, p ​< ​0.001 and plaque burden ICC: 0.45, RC: 32.0, p ​< ​0.001).


      CCTA reconstruction with thinner slice thickness, smooth kernel and highest strength advanced IR enabled more accurate quantification of the lumen and plaque at a segment-, and lesion-level analysis in coronary atheroma when validated against intravascular ultrasound. (NCT03556644)


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