Purpose: To assess patency and lumen visibility of coronary artery stents by multislice-CT angiography (MSCTA) in comparison with conventional coronary angiography as the standard of reference.
Material and Methods: 47 stents of 13 different types were evaluated in 29 patients. MSCTA was performed on a 4-slice scanner with a standard coronary protocol (detector collimation 4 × 1 mm; table feed 1.5 mm/rotation, 400 mAs, 120 kV). Image evaluation was performed by two readers who were blinded to the reports from the catheter angiography. MIP reconstructions were evaluated for image quality on a 4-point scale (1 = poor, 4 = excellent) and stent patency (contrast distal to the stent as an indirect patency sign). Axial images and multiplanar reformations through the stents were used for assessment of stent lumen visibility (measurement of the visible stent lumen diameter) and detection of relevant in-stent stenosis (≥50%).
Results: Image quality was fair to good on average (score 2.64 ± 1.0) and depended on the heart rate (heart rate 45–60: average score 3.2, heart rate 61–70: average score 2.8, heart rate >71: average score 1.4). Thirty-seven stents were correctly classified as patent, 1 was correctly classified as occluded and 9 stents were not assessible due to insufficient image quality because of triggering artifacts. Parts of the stent lumen could be visualized in 30 cases. On average, 20–40% of the stent lumen diameter was visible. Twenty-five stents were correctly classified as having no stenosis, 1 was falsely classified as stenosed, 1 was correctly classified as occluded. In 20 stents lumen visibility was not sufficient for stenosis evaluation.
Conclusion: Although the stent lumen may be partly visualized in most stents, a reliable evaluation of in-stent stenoses does not seem practical by 4-slice MSCT. Nevertheless, for stent patency evaluation, MS-CTA might provide valuable clinical information. With submillimeter MSCT (e.g., 16-slice scanners) and more sophisticated reconstruction algorithms, further improvements may be expected.