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Coronary Artery Disease Screening Using CT Coronary Angiography

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BACKGROUND: The increased utility of CT coronary angiography (CTCA) in cardiovascular screenings of aircrew has led to the increased detection of asymptomatic coronary artery disease (CAD). A systematic review of studies relevant to the interpretation of CTCA for the occupational fitness assessment of high-risk vocations was performed, with findings used to describe the development of a pathway for the aeromedical disposition of military aviators with asymptomatic CAD.

METHODS: Medline was searched using the terms CT coronary angiogram and screening and prognosis. The inclusion criteria were restricted to study populations ages > 18 yr, were asymptomatic, were not known to have CAD, had undergone CTCA, and with their associations with major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) and other relevant cardiac outcomes reported.

RESULTS: Included in this systematic review were 10 studies. When compared to subjects with no or nonobstructive CAD, those with obstructive CAD on CTCA had hazard ratios (HR) for cardiac events ranging from 1.42 to 105.48. Comparing subjects with nonobstructive CAD and those without CAD on CTCA, a lower HR of 1.19 for cardiac events was found. The annual event rates of subjects with no CAD on CTCA were extremely low, ranging from 0 to 0.5%.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on the findings, we suggest that CTCA should only be performed in aircrew with higher cardiac risk profiles. Those found to have no CAD or minimal CAD (i.e., 25% stenosis) in a non-left main coronary artery on CTCA can be returned to flying duties. All other results should be further evaluated with an invasive angiogram.

Cheong RWL, See B, Tan BBC, Koh CH. Coronary artery disease screening using CT coronary angiography. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2020; 91(10):812817.
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Keywords: CT coronary angiography; cardiovascular screening; military aircrew

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

    To access volumes 74 through 85, please click here.
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