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      Current approach to the diagnosis of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease: more questions than answers

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          Abstract

          Despite its commonality in routine clinical practice, the approach to a diagnosis of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease remains complex and, in part, contentious. The traditional dogma linking ischaemia to hard clinical outcomes has been questioned and reframed over the years; rather than being a predictor of hard clinical outcomes, the degree of ischaemia may simply be a marker of atherosclerotic disease burden. A renewed interest in the imaging of plaque burden has spawned the contemporary role of CT imaging for not only diagnosis and prognosis, but also for dictating downstream management. As the technology develops and evidence expands, decisions on investigative modalities remain centred around patient factors, local availability, test performance and cost. This review summarizes the available methods for diagnosis in the symptomatic patient and provides an overview of the current evidence behind functional and anatomical approaches.

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          Most cited references 77

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          A randomized trial of therapies for type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.

          Optimal treatment for patients with both type 2 diabetes mellitus and stable ischemic heart disease has not been established. We randomly assigned 2368 patients with both type 2 diabetes and heart disease to undergo either prompt revascularization with intensive medical therapy or intensive medical therapy alone and to undergo either insulin-sensitization or insulin-provision therapy. Primary end points were the rate of death and a composite of death, myocardial infarction, or stroke (major cardiovascular events). Randomization was stratified according to the choice of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG) as the more appropriate intervention. At 5 years, rates of survival did not differ significantly between the revascularization group (88.3%) and the medical-therapy group (87.8%, P=0.97) or between the insulin-sensitization group (88.2%) and the insulin-provision group (87.9%, P=0.89). The rates of freedom from major cardiovascular events also did not differ significantly among the groups: 77.2% in the revascularization group and 75.9% in the medical-treatment group (P=0.70) and 77.7% in the insulin-sensitization group and 75.4% in the insulin-provision group (P=0.13). In the PCI stratum, there was no significant difference in primary end points between the revascularization group and the medical-therapy group. In the CABG stratum, the rate of major cardiovascular events was significantly lower in the revascularization group (22.4%) than in the medical-therapy group (30.5%, P=0.01; P=0.002 for interaction between stratum and study group). Adverse events and serious adverse events were generally similar among the groups, although severe hypoglycemia was more frequent in the insulin-provision group (9.2%) than in the insulin-sensitization group (5.9%, P=0.003). Overall, there was no significant difference in the rates of death and major cardiovascular events between patients undergoing prompt revascularization and those undergoing medical therapy or between strategies of insulin sensitization and insulin provision. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00006305.) 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Analysis of probability as an aid in the clinical diagnosis of coronary-artery disease.

            The diagnosis of coronary-artery disease has become increasingly complex. Many different results, obtained from tests with substantial imperfections, must be integrated into a diagnostic conclusion about the probability of disease in a given patient. To approach this problem in a practical manner, we reviewed the literature to estimate the pretest likelihood of disease (defined by age, sex and symptoms) and the sensitivity and specificity of four diagnostic tests: stress electrocardiography, cardiokymography, thallium scintigraphy and cardiac fluoroscopy. With this information, test results can be analyzed by use of Bayes' theorem of conditional probability. This approach has several advantages. It pools the diagnostic experience of many physicians ans integrates fundamental pretest clinical descriptors with many varying test results to summarize reproducibly and meaningfully the probability of angiographic coronary-artery disease. This approach also aids, but does not replace, the physician's judgment and may assit in decisions on cost effectiveness of tests.
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              Long-term prognosis associated with coronary calcification: observations from a registry of 25,253 patients.

              The purpose of this study was to develop risk-adjusted multivariable models that include risk factors and coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores measured with electron-beam tomography in asymptomatic patients for the prediction of all-cause mortality. Several smaller studies have documented the efficacy of CAC testing for assessment of cardiovascular risk. Larger studies with longer follow-up will lend strength to the hypothesis that CAC testing will improve outcomes, cost-effectiveness, and safety of primary prevention efforts. We used an observational outcome study of a cohort of 25,253 consecutive, asymptomatic individuals referred by their primary physician for CAC scanning to assess cardiovascular risk. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were developed to predict all-cause mortality. Risk-adjusted models incorporated traditional risk factors for coronary disease and CAC scores. The frequency of CAC scores was 44%, 14%, 20%, 13%, 6%, and 4% for scores of 0, 1 to 10, 11 to 100, 101 to 400, 401 to 1,000, and >1,000, respectively. During a mean follow-up of 6.8 +/- 3 years, the death rate was 2% (510 deaths). The CAC was an independent predictor of mortality in a multivariable model controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, and cardiac risk factors (model chi-square = 2,017, p 1,000, respectively (p 1,000 (p < 0.0001). This large observational data series shows that CAC provides independent incremental information in addition to traditional risk factors in the prediction of all-cause mortality.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Ther Adv Chronic Dis
                Ther Adv Chronic Dis
                TAJ
                sptaj
                Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease
                SAGE Publications (Sage UK: London, England )
                2040-6223
                2040-6231
                01 November 2019
                2019
                : 10
                Affiliations
                Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, NC, USA
                Vascular Research Centre, Lifelong Health Theme, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, Australia
                Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
                Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, NC, USA
                School of Medicine, Imperial College, London, UK
                South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
                Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
                Author notes
                Article
                10.1177_2040622319884819
                10.1177/2040622319884819
                6826912
                © The Author(s), 2019

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages ( https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

                Funding
                Funded by: National Heart Foundation of Australia, FundRef https://doi.org/10.13039/501100001030;
                Award ID: FLF102056
                Funded by: National Health and Medical Research Council, FundRef https://doi.org/10.13039/501100000925;
                Award ID: CDF1161506
                Funded by: National Health and Medical Research Council, FundRef https://doi.org/10.13039/501100000925;
                Award ID: GNT1127159
                Categories
                Special Collection on the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease
                Review
                Custom metadata
                January-December 2019

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