Methods: In this retrospective study, 539 patients referred for hybrid [15O]H2O PET – CCTA imaging because of suspected CAD were investigated. PET perfusion imaging was used to determine hyperemic myocardial blood flow (MBF), whereas CCTA images were evaluated for obstructive stenosis and high-risk plaque morphology. Major adverse coronary events (MACE) included all-cause death, non-fatal myocardial infarction (MI), urgent revascularization and late non-urgent revascularization (i.e. not guided by initial diagnostic work-up with non-invasive imaging). Kaplan Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazard regression were used to evaluate the independent prognostic value of PET-derived MBF, CCTA-derived stenosis and CCTA-derived high-risk plaque.
Results: During a mean follow-up of 6.8 [4.8-7.9] years, 79 (14.7%) patients experienced MACE, including 23 (4.3%) deaths, 19 (3.5%) MIs, 8 (1.5%) urgent revascularizations and 29 (5.4%) late non-urgent revascularizations. Annualized event rates for normal vs. abnormal results of PET perfusion imaging, CCTA-derived stenosis and high-risk plaque morphology were 1.2% vs 4.1%, 0.6% vs 4.4%, and 1.7% vs 5.6%, respectively (p<0.001 for all). The combined use of these three imaging parameters resulted in excellent long-term risk prediction, with a MACE-free survival of 97% in patients with no positive imaging findings. In contrast, MACE-free survival was only 69% in patients in whom all imaging findings were positive (figure 1). Multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression demonstrated incremental prognostic value of PET perfusion imaging, CCTA-derived stenosis and CCTA-derived high-risk plaques for the occurrence of MACE (p<0.05 for all)
Conclusion: PET-derived myocardial blood flow and CCTA-derived stenosis severity and high-risk plaque morphology are independent long-term predictors of adverse cardiac events and provide incremental prognostic value. Combined functional, anatomical and morphological assessment may allow for improved risk stratification in patients with suspected CAD.