The New Frontier of Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography: Fractional Flow Reserve and Stress Myocardial Perfusion

Gianluca Pontone*, Giuseppe Muscogiuri, Daniele Andreini, Andrea I. Guaricci, Marco Guglielmo, Saima Mushtaq, Andrea Baggiano, Edoardo Conte, Virginia Beltrama, Andrea Annoni, Alberto Formenti, Elisabetta Mancini, Mark G. Rabbat, Mauro Pepi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The increased number of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) in developed countries is of great clinical relevance and involves a large burden of the healthcare system. The management of these patients is focused on relieving symptoms and improving clinical outcomes. Therefore the ideal test would provide the correct diagnosis and actionable information. To this aim, several non-invasive functional imaging modalities are usually used as gatekeeper to invasive coronary angiography (ICA), but their diagnostic yield remains low with limited accuracy when compared to obstructive CAD at the time of ICA or invasive fractional flow reserve (FFR). Invasive FFR is considered the gold standard for the evaluation of functionally relevant CAD. Therefore, an urgent need for non-invasive techniques that evaluate both the functional and morphological severity of CAD is growing. Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) has emerged as a unique non-invasive technique providing coronary artery anatomic imaging. More recently, the evaluation of FFR with CCTA (FFRCT) has demonstrated high diagnostic performance compared to invasive FFR. Additionally, stress myocardial computed tomography perfusion (CTP) represents a novel tool for the diagnosis of ischemia with high diagnostic accuracy. Compared to nuclear imaging and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, both FFRCT and stress-CTP, allow us to integrate the anatomical evaluation of coronary arteries with the functional relevance of coronary artery lesions having the potential to revolutionize the diagnostic paradigm of suspected CAD. FFRCT and stress-CTP could be assimilated in diagnostic pathways of patients with stable CAD and will likely result in a decrease of invasive diagnostic procedures and costs. The current review evaluates the technical aspects and clinical experience of FFRCT and stress-CTP in the evaluation of functionally relevant CAD discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
JournalCurrent treatment options in cardiovascular medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diagnosis
  • Fractional flow reserve
  • Ischemia
  • Myocardial perfusion


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