Document Type


Publication Date

October 2006


This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 25(4):450-458, May 2007. The published version is available at Copyright (c)2007 Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


Multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) imaging, a technological advance over traditional CT, is a promising possible alternative to cardiac catheterization for evaluating patients with chest pain in the emergency department (ED). In comparison with traditional CT, MDCT offers increased spatial and temporal resolution that allows reliable visualization of the coronary arteries. In addition, a "triple scan," which includes evaluation for pulmonary embolism and thoracic aortic dissection, can be incorporated into a single study. This test will enable emergency physicians to rapidly evaluate patients for life-threatening illnesses and may allow safer and earlier discharges of many patients with chest pain in comparison with a traditional rule-out protocol. In this article, we will highlight the technological advances of MDCT imaging, review the literature on coronary angiography via MDCT, and discuss the future of this technology as it relates to the ED.

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