Electron-beam computed tomography (EBCT) is a new, noninvasive method of detecting coronary artery calcification that is being increasingly advocated as a diagnostic test for coronary artery disease (CAD). Before its clinical use is justified, however, the overall accuracy of EBCT must be better defined.
To estimate the accuracy of EBCT in diagnosing obstructive CAD.
English-language studies from January 1, 1979, through Feburary 29, 2000, were retrieved using MEDLINE and Current Contents databases, bibliographies, and expert consultation.
We included a study if it (1) used EBCT as a diagnostic test; (2) reported cases in absolute numbers of true-positive, false-positive, true-negative, and false-negative results; and (3) used coronary angiography as the reference standard for diagnosing obstructive CAD (defined as ≥50% diameter stenosis).
Data were extracted from the included articles by 2 independent reviewers.
Weighted pooled analysis and summary receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis were used to determine sensitivity and specificity rates. Results from 9 studies with 1662 subjects were included. Pooled sensitivity for EBCT was 92.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 90.7%-94.0%) and pooled specificity was 51.2% (95% CI, 47.5%-54.9%). Maximum joint sensitivity and specificity for EBCT from its summary ROC curve was 75%. As the threshold for defining an abnormal test varied, sensitivity and specificity changed. For a threshold that resulted in a sensitivity of 90%, specificity was 54%; when sensitivity was 80%, specificity rose to 71%.
The performance of EBCT as a diagnostic test for obstructive CAD is reasonable based on sensitivity and specificity rates from its summary ROC curve.