Alessandro Palumbo

University Hospital of Parma, Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

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Publications (58)133.84 Total impact

  • Circulation 09/2013; 128(13):e202. · 15.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: It is known that 9-31% of women and 4-14% of men experiencing an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) have normal coronary arteries or non-significant coronary disease at angiography. Computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) can non-invasively identify the presence of coronary plaques even in the absence of significant coronary artery stenosis. This study evaluated the role of 64-slice CTCA in detecting and characterising coronary atherosclerosis in patients with a documented AMI but without significant coronary artery stenosis. METHODS AND RESULTS: Consecutive patients with AMI but without significant coronary stenosis at coronary angiography (CA) underwent late gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance (LGE-CMR) and CTCA. Only the 50 patients with an area of MI identified by LGE-CMR were included in the study. All of the coronary segments were assessed for the presence of coronary plaques. CTCA identified 101 plaques against the 41 identified by CA: 61 (60.4%) located in infarct-related arteries (IRAs) and 40 (39.6%) in non-IRAs. In the IRAs, 22 plaques were non-calcified, 17 mixed, and 22 calcified; in the non-IRAs, five plaques were non-calcified, eight mixed, and 27 calcified (p=0.005). Mean plaque area was significantly greater in the IRAs than in the non-IRAs (6.1±5.4 mm(2) vs 4.2±2.1 mm(2), p=0.03); there was no significant difference in mean percentage stenosis (33.5%±14.6 vs 31.7%±12.2, p=0.59), but the mean remodelling index was significantly different (1.25±0.41 vs 1.08±0.21, p=0.01). CONCLUSIONS: CTCA detects coronary atherosclerotic plaques in segments of non-stenotic coronary arteries that are underestimated by CA, and identifies a different distribution of plaque types in IRAs and non-IRAs. It may therefore be valuable for diagnosing coronary atherosclerosis in AMI patients without any significant coronary stenosis.
    Circulation 11/2012; · 15.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the case of a 24-year-old man who presented at our emergency department with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). The patient showed no coronary artery disease on conventional coronary angiography (CAG). Computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) and cardiac magnetic resonance (MR) performed thereafter allowed the highly probable diagnosis of the culprit lesion (i.e. vulnerable plaque) and of the infarcted area. We demonstrated the impact of integrated non-invasive imaging in defining the diagnosis of STEMI with normal coronary arteries on CAG.
    Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine 03/2011; 12(3):184-5. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the predictive value of CT coronary angiography (CT-CA) in the stratification of patients with acute chest pain. We enrolled 48 patients (31 males and 17 females, mean age 61.0 +/- 14yrs) with acute chest pain of suspected coronary origin, without diagnostic alterations of the ECG and/or increase of the myocardial biomarkers. Sixty-four slice CT-CA was performed within 48-72 hours. Depending on the clinical judgment, the patients were dismissed or underwent conventional coronary angiography (CAG). Patients underwent clinical follow-up at 6 months, recording the prevalence of major cardiovascular events. One patient was excluded from the analysis because of poor image quality. CT-CA showed no coronary artery disease in 38.3% (18/47) of the patients, no significant coronary artery disease (<50% lumen reduction) in 31.9% (15/47) of the patients, significant coronary artery disease (> or = 50% lumen reduction) in 29.8% (14/47) of the patients. In 87.2% (41/47) of the patients no indication for CAG was present. In 6 (12,8%) patients with significant stenosis at CT-CA indication for CAG was present. In 50% (3/6) of these patients, CAG showed no significant coronary artery disease and in the remaining 50%(3/6) CAG was followed by percutaneous coronary angioplasty. At follow-up no major cardiovascular events were observed. CT-CA showed high sensitivity for the detection of significant coronary artery disease and a negative predictive value at 6-month follow-up.
    Acta bio-medica: Atenei Parmensis 12/2010; 81(3):157-64.
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of 64-slice computed tomography (CT) coronary angiography (CA) for the detection of significant coronary artery stenosis (> or = 50% lumen reduction) as compared to invasive coronary angiography (ICA) in a population of patients with chest pain and high risk. 44 patients (30 male; mean age 60.2+/- 12.1 yrs) with chest pain were prospectively enrolled. In patients with heart rate > or = 70 bpm an oral dose of 100 mg of beta-blocker was administered. For CT-CA (Sensation 64, Siemens, Germany) an intravenous bolus of 100 ml of iodinated contrast material (Iomeron 400, Bracco, Italy) was injected. The average scan time was 13.3 +/- 0.9s. Two observers evaluated CT-CA vs. ICA as a reference standard for the detection of significant (> or = 50% lumen reduction) coronary artery stenosis. ICA demonstrated the absence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in 13.6% of the patients (6/44), the presence of non significant CAD 4.6% (2/44), single vessel disease in 27.2% (12/44) and multi-vessel disease in 54.6% (24/44) of the patients. None of the patients was excluded from the study population. Ninety-three significant obstructive coronary lesions were observed. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value of CT-CA were 98.6% (70/71), 92.4% (97/105), 89.7% (70/78) and 99% (97/98), respectively. All patients with at least one significant coronary lesion were correctly identified by CT-CA. CT-CA is a reliable alternative to ICA in a selected population of patients with chest pain and high risk.
    Acta bio-medica: Atenei Parmensis 12/2010; 81(1):47-53.
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate diagnostic accuracy of exercise ECG (ex-ECG) versus 64-slice CT coronary angiography (CT-CA) for the detection of significant coronary artery stenosis in a population with low-to-intermediate pre-test likelihood of coronary artery disease (CAD). Retrospective single centre. Tertiary academic hospital. 177 consecutive patients (88 men, 89 women, mean age 53.5±7.6 years) with chest pain and low-to-intermediate pre-test likelihood of CAD were retrospectively enrolled. All patients underwent ex-ECG, CT-CA and invasive coronary angiography (ICA). A lumen diameter reduction of ≥50% was considered as significant stenosis for CT-CA. Ex-ECG was classified as positive, negative or non-diagnostic. were compared with ICA. Diagnostic accuracy of CT-CA and ex-ECG was calculated using ICA as the reference standard. A parallel comparative analysis using a cut-off value of 70% for significant lumen reduction was also performed too. Results ICA disclosed an absence of significant stenosis (≥50% luminal narrowing) in 85.3% (151/177) patients, single-vessel disease in 9.0% (16/177) patients and multivessel disease in 5.6% (10/177) patients. Prevalence of obstructive disease at ICA was 14.7% (26/177). Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values at the patient level were 100.0%, 98.7%, 92.9%, 100%, respectively, for CT-CA and 46.2%, 16.6%, 8.7%, 64.1%, respectively, for ex-ECG. Agreement between CT-CA and ex-ECG was 20.9%. CT-CA performed equally well in men and women, while ex-ECG had a better performance in men. After considering the cut-off value of 70% for significant stenosis, the difference between CT-CA and ex-ECG remained significant (p<0.01), with a low agreement (21.5%). CT-CA provides optimal diagnostic performance in patients with atypical chest pain and low-to-intermediate risk of CAD. Ex-ECG has poor diagnostic accuracy in this population. Concerns are related to risk of radiation dose versus the benefits of correct disease stratification.
    Heart (British Cardiac Society) 11/2010; 96(24):1973-9. · 5.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The treatment of coronary artery stenosis has progressively shifted over the past decades, from surgical (CABG) to percutaneous (PCI and stenting). The recent introduction of drug-eluting stents further reduced the occurrence of in-stent re-stenosis (ISR). However, a non-negligible number of patients need imaging/functional tests when symptoms recur. Multi-Slice CT Coronary Angiography (CT-CA) is a clinical reality for the evaluation of coronary artery stenosis, but still under evaluation in the follow-up of coronary stents. Several factors may impair proper depiction of in-stent lumen even with the most recent CT equipments. In highly selected populations CT-CA may play a clinical role even though the performance requirements both from the technical standpoint (i.e., CT scanner) and from the training (i.e., operators' experience) are still very demanding. In the meantime CT technology should improve towards higher contrast, spatial and temporal resolution in order to achieve the results that may be proper for clinical implementation.
    Acta bio-medica: Atenei Parmensis 09/2010; 81(2):87-93.
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the prognostic value of multidetector computed tomographic (CT) coronary angiography in a diabetic population known to have or suspected of having coronary artery disease (CAD) compared with that in nondiabetic individuals. Institutional review board approval and patient informed consent were obtained. Three hundred thirteen patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and 303 patients without DM underwent unenhanced 64-detector row CT, at which a calcium score was obtained, followed by CT angiography. Multidetector CT coronary angiograms were retrospectively classified as normal, showing nonobstructive CAD (<or=50% luminal narrowing), or showing obstructive CAD (>50% luminal narrowing). During follow-up after CT angiography, major events (cardiac death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and unstable angina requiring hospitalization) and total events (major events plus coronary revascularizations) were recorded for each patient. Cox proportional hazards analysis and Kaplan-Meier analysis were used to compare survival rates. In the group of 313 patients with DM, there were 213 men, and the mean age was 62 years +/- 11 (standard deviation). In the group of 303 patients without DM, there were 203 men, and the mean age was 63 years +/- 11. The mean number of diseased segments (5.6 vs 4.4, P = .001) and the rate of obstructive CAD (51% vs 37%, P < .001) were higher in patients with DM. Patients were followed up for a mean of 20 months +/- 5.4 (range, 6-44 months). At multivariate analysis, DM (P < .001) and evidence of obstructive CAD (P < .001) were independent predictors of outcome. Obstructive CAD remained a significant multivariate predictor for both patients with DM and patients without DM. In both patients with DM and patients without DM with absence of disease, the event rate was 0%. The event rate increased to 36% in patients without DM but with obstructive CAD and was highest (47%) in patients with DM and obstructive CAD. In both patients with DM and patients without DM, multidetector CT coronary angiography provides incremental prognostic information over baseline clinical variables, and the absence of atherosclerosis at CT coronary angiography is associated with an excellent prognosis. Multidetector CT coronary angiography might be a clinically useful tool for improving risk stratification in both patients with DM and patients without DM.
    Radiology 07/2010; 256(1):83-92. · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to define the in-vitro and in-vivo effects of intracoronary enhancement on the absolute density values of coronary plaques during multislice computed tomography. We studied seven ex-vivo left coronary artery specimens surrounded by olive oil and filled with isotonic saline and four solutions with decreasing dilutions of contrast material: control (isotonic saline), 1/200, 1/80, 1/50, and 1/20. The multislice computed tomography protocol was: slice/collimation 32 x 2 x 0.6 mm and rotation time 330 ms. The attenuation (Hounsfield units) value of atherosclerotic plaques was measured for each dilution in lumen, plaque (noncalcified coronary wall thickening), calcium, and surrounding oil. In-vivo assessment was performed in 12 patients (nine men; mean age 58.7 +/- 9.9 years) who underwent two subsequent multislice computed tomography scans (arterial and delayed) after intravenous administration of a single bolus of contrast material. The attenuation values of lumen and plaques during arterial and delayed computed tomography were compared. The results were compared with one-way analysis of variance and correlated with Pearson's test. Mean lumen (45 +/- 38-669 +/- 151 HU) and plaque (11 +/- 35-101 +/- 72 HU) attenuation differed significantly (P < 0.001) among the different dilutions. The attenuation of lumen and plaque of coronary plaques showed moderate correlation (r = 0.54, P < 0.001). The mean attenuation value in vivo for the arterial and delayed phase scans differed significantly (P < 0.001) for lumen (325 +/- 70 and 174 +/- 46 HU, respectively) and plaque (138 +/- 71 and 100 +/- 52 HU, respectively). Coronary plaque attenuation values are significantly modified by differences in lumen contrast densities both ex vivo and in vivo. This should be taken into account when considering the distinction between lipid and fibrous plaques.
    Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine 05/2010; 11(5):337-44. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We sought to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of 64-slice multi-detector row computed tomography (MDCT) compared with invasive coronary angiography for in-stent restenosis (ISR) detection. MEDLINE, Cochrane library, and BioMed Central database searches were performed until April 2009 for original articles. Inclusion criteria were (1) 64-MDCT was used as a diagnostic test for ISR, with >50% diameter stenosis selected as the cut-off criterion for significant ISR, using invasive coronary angiography and quantitative coronary angiography as the standard of reference; (2) absolute numbers of true positive, false positive, true negative, and false negative results could be derived. Standard meta-analytic methods were applied. Nine studies with a total of 598 patients with 978 stents included were considered eligible. On average, 9% of stents were unassessable (range 0-42%). Accuracy tests with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) comparing 64-MDCT vs invasive coronary angiography showed that pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratio (random effect model) values were: 86% (95% CI 80-91%), 93% (95% CI 91-95%), 12.32 (95% CI 7.26-20.92), 0.18 (95% CI 0.12-0.28) for binary ISR detection. The symmetric area under the curve value was 0.94, indicating good agreement between 64-MDCT and invasive coronary angiography. 64-MDCT has a good diagnostic accuracy for ISR detection with a particularly high negative predictive value. However, still a relatively large proportion of stents remains uninterpretable. Accordingly, only in selected patients, 64-MDCT may serve as a potential alternative noninvasive method to rule out ISR.
    Journal of Nuclear Cardiology 04/2010; 17(3):470-8. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In cases where conventional aortocoronary grafts cannot be used, No-React bovine internal mammary artery is a possible alternative. The aim of this study was to assess the patency and clinical performance of bovine internal mammary artery as a coronary bypass conduit, using 64-slice computed tomography coronary angiography. Eleven patients (mean age, 68.2 + or - 5.9 years) received 11 bovine grafts between 2002 and 2006. Eight of these patients were alive after a mean follow-up of 29.4 + or - 16.3 months. Their mean additive EuroSCORE was 6.5 + or - 3.2. The mean number of distal anastomoses was 2.5 + or - 0.5. Six grafts were anastomosed to the right coronary artery, 2 to the left anterior descending artery, and 3 to the circumflex artery. All 11 bovine grafts were found to be occluded after 14.1 + or - 3.6 months. This demonstrates very poor results with the bovine coronary graft, thus we do not recommend its use, and we suggest considering an hybrid approach in selected cases.
    Asian cardiovascular & thoracic annals 02/2010; 18(1):59-64.
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to compare the coronary artery calcium score (CACS) and computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) for the assessment of non-obstructive/obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) in high-risk asymptomatic subjects. Two hundred and thirteen consecutive asymptomatic subjects (113 male; mean age 53.6 +/- 12.4 years) with more than one risk factor and an inconclusive or unfeasible non-invasive stress test result underwent CACS and CTCA in an outpatient setting. All patients underwent conventional coronary angiography (CAG). Data from CACS (threshold for positive image: Agatston score 1/100/1,000) and CTCA were compared with CAG regarding the degree of CAD (non-obstructive/obstructive; </>or=50% lumen reduction). The mean calcium score was 151 +/- 403 and the prevalence of obstructive CAD was 17% (8% one-vessel and 10% two-vessel disease). Per-patient sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of CACS were: 97%, 75%, 45%, and 100%, respectively (Agatston >or=1); 73%, 90%, 60%, and 94%, respectively (Agatston >or=100); 30%, 98%, 79%, and 87%, respectively (Agatston >or=1,000). Per-patient values for CTCA were 100%, 98%, 97%, and 100%, respectively (p < 0.05). CTCA detected 65% prevalence of all CAD (48% non-obstructive), while CACS detected 37% prevalence of all CAD (21% non-obstructive) (p < 0.05). CACS proved inadequate for the detection of obstructive and non-obstructive CAD compared with CTCA. CTCA has a high diagnostic accuracy for the detection of non-obstructive and obstructive CAD in high-risk asymptomatic patients with inconclusive or unfeasible stress test results.
    European Radiology 09/2009; 20(4):846-54. · 4.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of 64-slice CT coronary angiography (CT-CA) for the detection of significant coronary artery stenosis in patients with zero on the Agatston Calcium Score (CACS). We enrolled 279 consecutive patients (96 male, mean age 48 +/- 12 years) with suspected coronary artery disease. Patients were symptomatic (n = 208) or asymptomatic (n = 71), and underwent conventional coronary angiography (CAG). For CT-CA we administered an IV bolus of 100 ml of iodinated contrast material. CT-CA was compared to CAG using a threshold for significant stenosis of >or=50%. The prevalence of disease demonstrated at CAG was 15% (1.4% in asymptomatic). The population at CAG showed no or non-significant disease in 85% (238/279), single vessel disease in 9% (25/279), and multi-vessel disease in 6% (16/279). Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of CT-CA vs. CAG on the patient level were 100%, 95%, 76%, and 100% in the overall population and 100%, 100%, 100%, and 100% in asymptomatic patients, respectively. CT-CA proves high diagnostic performance in patients with or without symptoms and with zero CACS. The prevalence of significant disease detected by CT-CA was not negligible in asymptomatic patients. The role of CT-CA in asymptomatic patients remains uncertain.
    European Radiology 08/2009; 20(1):81-7. · 4.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We retrospectively evaluated the effect, timing and safety of different pharmacological strategies during 64-slice CT coronary angiography (CT-CA). From the institutional database of CT-CAwe enrolled 560 consecutive patients with suspected coronary artery disease. The type of drug preparation (group 1 = no treatment; group 2 = oral metoprolol; group 3 = other; group 4 = intravenous (IV) atenolol; group 5 = IV atenolol + nitrates; NR = non-responders), timing, and adverse effects were recorded. Heart rate (HR) during different preparation phases was recorded. Four adverse effects were recorded, none of which was attributable to pharmacological treatment. In all groups, except group 1, the HR on arrival was significantly reduced by the pharmacological treatment (p<0.01). Group 4 showed the best (-16±8 bpm) HR reduction. There was no significant effect on HR due to nitrates (p = 0.49), while a slight increase due to contrast material was noted (p<0.05). Average time required for preparation was 44±25min. Groups 4 and 5 showed the most effective timing (8±9 min and 8±8 min, respectively; p<0.01). Pharmacological preparation in patients undergoing CT-CA is safe and effective. Best results in terms of HR reduction and fast preparation are obtained with IV administration of beta-blockers.
    European Radiology 07/2009; 19(12):2931-40. · 4.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a case of a 46-year-old woman who presented to our institution with a history of quadrantectomy and a current progressive dyspnea. Multislice computed tomography of the heart and coronary arteries was performed with standard protocol. The investigation demonstrated a hypodense mass infiltrating the interventricular septum, the cardiac apex and the right ventricular chamber. The mass also surrounded the left anterior descending coronary artery without any sign of occlusion. Cardiac computed tomography is performed in the follow-up of almost all cancer patients. Therefore, we expect that the increased survival of patients with advanced stages of cancer will lead to more frequent encounters with this kind of finding in routine clinical investigations.
    Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine 06/2009; 10(5):423-4. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the relationship between established cardiovascular risk factors, clinical presentation and the extent of coronary artery disease (CAD), as described with computed tomography coronary angiography. In this cross-sectional study, we included 567 symptomatic individuals without a history of CAD who consecutively underwent 64-slice computed tomography coronary angiography for evaluation of suspected CAD. We analyzed the prevalence of CAD depending on sex, age, symptoms and risk factors. A total of 8542 segments were analyzed. No evidence of CAD was observed in 225 patients (40%), nonsignificant CAD in 221 patients (39%) and significant CAD (luminal narrowing >50%) in the remaining 121 patients (21%). CAD increased with advancing age, significantly above 50 years (P < 0.05). Female patients had a higher prevalence of normal coronary arteries and males of significant CAD (P < 0.01). With the increase of risk factors, there was a significant increase of the significant disease (P < 0.01). Typical pain with respect to atypical pain had the strongest association with significant CAD (16 vs. 38%; P < 0.05). In multivariate analysis, the number of risk factors, age, male sex and typical pain remained strong predictors of significant CAD (P < 0.0001). Computed tomography coronary angiography may play an important role in risk stratification of patients with suspected CAD.
    Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine 06/2009; 10(12):913-20. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the predictive value of 64-slice computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) for major cardiac events in patients with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD). A total of 187 consecutive patients (119 men, age 62.5 +/- 10.5 years) without known heart disease underwent single-source 64-slice CTCA (Somatom Sensation 64, Siemens) for clinical suspicion of CAD. Patients underwent follow-up for the occurrence of cardiac death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, unstable angina and cardiac revascularization. In total, 2,822 coronary segments were assessed. Forty-two segments (1.5%) were not assessable because of insufficient image quality. Overall, CTCA revealed absence of CAD in 65 (34.7%) patients, nonobstructive CAD (coronary plaque < or =50%) in 87 (46.5%) patients and obstructive CAD (>50%) in 35 (18.8%) patients. A total of 20 major cardiac events (3 myocardial infarctions, 16 cardiac revascularizations, 1 unstable angina) occurred during a mean follow-up of 24 months. One noncardiac death occurred. Seventeen events occurred in the group of patients with obstructive CAD and three events occurred in the group of nonobstructive CAD. The event rate was 0% among patients with normal coronary arteries at CTCA. CTCA has a 100% negative predictive value for major cardiac events at 24-month follow-up in patients with normal coronary arteries.
    European Radiology 02/2009; 19(7):1653-60. · 4.34 Impact Factor
  • Giornale italiano di cardiologia (2006) 01/2009; 9(12):862.
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    Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 01/2009; · 4.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract. CT Coronary Angiography of the heart is one of the fastly developing techniques in cardiovascular imaging. It is rapidly emerging and quickly entering the clinical practice and international guidelines. The increasing evidence regarding the strong role in the assessment of coronary artery lumen is progressively expanded by evidences of the important role of coronary wall imaging. The prognostic importance of CT Coronary Angiography is worldwide reported and the main question that is posed at the moment concerns the potential impact in primary prevention. In this review we will discuss the current applications and technology state of the art, X-ray dose issues, the training requirements and implementation in the healthcare context of CT Coronary Angiography.
    Acta bio-medica: Atenei Parmensis 01/2009; 80(3):292-8.

Publication Stats

470 Citations
133.84 Total Impact Points


  • 2009–2013
    • University Hospital of Parma
      Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
    • Ospedale Maggiore di Lodi
      Lodi, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2010
    • Leiden University Medical Centre
      • Department of Cardiology
      Leyden, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 2005–2009
    • Erasmus MC
      • • Department of Cardiology
      • • Department of Radiology
      Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 2006
    • Università degli studi di Palermo
      • Department of internal medicine and medical specialties (DIMIS)
      Palermo, Sicily, Italy
  • 2004–2006
    • Università degli Studi di Trieste
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy