In July 2009, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging Technologies for the Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding different cardiac imaging modalities to ensure that appropriate technologies are accessed by patients suspected of having CAD. This project came about when the Health Services Branch at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care asked MAS to provide an evidentiary platform on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of non-invasive cardiac imaging modalities.
After an initial review of the strategy and consultation with experts, MAS identified five key non-invasive cardiac imaging technologies for the diagnosis of CAD. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these five imaging modalities: cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, single photon emission computed tomography, 64-slice computed tomographic angiography, stress echocardiography, and stress echocardiography with contrast. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed (where appropriate). A summary decision analytic model was then developed to encapsulate the data from each of these reports (available on the OHTAC and MAS website).
The Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging Technologies for the Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: www.health.gov.on.ca/mas or at www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html
Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography for the Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Stress Echocardiography for the Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Stress Echocardiography with Contrast for the Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease: An Evidence-Based Analysis
64-Slice Computed Tomographic Angiography for the Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging for the Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pease note that two related evidence-based analyses of non-invasive cardiac imaging technologies for the assessment of myocardial viability are also available on the MAS website:
Positron Emission Tomography for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Magnetic Resonance Imaging for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability: an Evidence-Based Analysis
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative has also produced an associated economic report entitled:
The Relative Cost-effectiveness of Five Non-invasive Cardiac Imaging Technologies for Diagnosing Coronary Artery Disease in Ontario [Internet]. Available from: http://theta.utoronto.ca/reports/?id=7
The objective of this analysis was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the diagnosis of patients with known/suspected coronary artery disease (CAD) compared to coronary angiography.
Stress cardiac MRI is a non-invasive, x-ray free imaging technique that takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete and can be performed using to two different methods, a) perfusion imaging following a first pass of an intravenous bolus of gadolinium contrast, or b) wall motion imaging. Stress is induced pharmacologically with either dobutamine, dipyridamole, or adenosine, as physical exercise is difficult to perform within the magnet bore and often induces motion artifacts. Alternatives to stress cardiac perfusion MRI include stress single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and stress echocardiography (ECHO). The advantage of cardiac MRI is that it does not pose the radiation burden associated with SPECT. During the same sitting, cardiac MRI can also assess left and right ventricular dimensions, viability, and cardiac mass. It may also mitigate the need for invasive diagnostic coronary angiography in patients with intermediate risk factors for CAD.
A literature search was performed on October 9, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 2005 to October 9, 2008. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist and then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Given the large amount of clinical heterogeneity of the articles meeting the inclusion criteria, as well as suggestions from an Expert Advisory Panel Meeting held on October 5, 2009, the inclusion criteria were revised to examine the effectiveness of cardiac MRI for the detection of CAD.
Heath technology assessments, systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, observational studies
≥20 adult patients enrolled.
Licensed by Health Canada
For diagnosis of CAD:
Reference standard is coronary angiography
Significant CAD defined as ≥ 50% coronary stenosis
Patients with suspected or known CAD
Reported results by patient, not segment
Patients with recent MI (i.e., within 1 month)
Patients with non-ischemic heart disease
Studies done exclusively in special populations (e.g., women, diabetics)
Outcomes of Interest
Sensitivity and specificity
Area under the curve (AUC)
Diagnostic odds ratio (DOR)
Summary of Findings
Stress cardiac MRI using perfusion analysis yielded a pooled sensitivity of 0.91 (95% CI: 0.89 to 0.92) and specificity of 0.79 (95% CI: 0.76 to 0.82) for the detection of CAD.
Stress cardiac MRI using wall motion analysis yielded a pooled sensitivity of 0.81 (95% CI: 0.77 to 0.84) and specificity of 0.85 (95% CI: 0.81 to 0.89) for the detection of CAD.
Based on DORs, there was no significant difference between pooled stress cardiac MRI using perfusion analysis and pooled stress cardiac MRI using wall motion analysis (P=0.26) for the detection of CAD.
Pooled subgroup analysis of stress cardiac MRI using perfusion analysis showed no significant difference in the DORs between 1.5T and 3T MRI (P=0.72) for the detection of CAD.
One study (N=60) was identified that examined stress cardiac MRI using wall motion analysis with a 3T MRI. The sensitivity and specificity of 3T MRI were 0.64 (95% CI: 0.44 to 0.81) and 1.00 (95% CI: 0.89 to 1.00), respectively, for the detection of CAD.
The effectiveness of stress cardiac MRI for the detection of CAD in unstable patients with acute coronary syndrome was reported in only one study (N=35). Using perfusion analysis, the sensitivity and specificity were 0.72 (95% CI: 0.53 to 0.87) and 1.00 (95% CI: 0.54 to 1.00), respectively, for the detection of CAD.
Ontario Health System Impact Analysis
According to an expert consultant, in Ontario:
Stress first pass perfusion is currently performed in small numbers in London (London Health Sciences Centre) and Toronto (University Health Network at the Toronto General Hospital site and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre).
Stress wall motion is only performed as part of research protocols and not very often.
Cardiac MRI machines use 1.5T almost exclusively, with 3T used in research for first pass perfusion.
On November 25 2009, the Cardiac Imaging Expert Advisory Panel met and made the following comments about stress cardiac MRI for perfusion analysis:
Accessibility to cardiac MRI is limited and generally used to assess structural abnormalities. Most MRIs in Ontario are already in 24–hour, constant use and it would thus be difficult to add cardiac MRI for CAD diagnosis as an additional indication.
The performance of cardiac MRI for the diagnosis of CAD can be technically challenging.
GRADE Quality of Evidence for Cardiac MRI in the Diagnosis of CAD
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed according to the GRADE Working Group criteria for diagnostic tests. For perfusion analysis, the overall quality was determined to be low and for wall motion analysis the overall quality was very low.