DISCHARGE: CTA Shows Safety Edge vs Cath in Intermediate-Risk Stable Chest Pain
Updated with commentary March 7, 2022
Computed tomographic angiography (CTA) appears preferable to standard cath-based angiography for the initial evaluation of most stable, intermediate-risk patients with angina-like symptoms, researchers say, based on their study conducted at centers across Europe.
Clinical outcomes over several years in the randomized trial — called DISCHARGE, with an enrollment of more than 3500 — were statistically similar whether the patients were assigned to CTA or invasive coronary angiography (ICA) as their initial evaluation. Symptoms and quality-of-life measures were also similar.
But the patients assigned to the initial-CTA strategy, of whom fewer than a fourth went on to cardiac cath, showed far fewer procedure-related complications and less often went to coronary revascularization during the median follow-up of 3.5 years, the group reported March 4 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Based on the findings, CTA “is a safe alternative to cardiac catheterization for patients with suspected CAD [coronary artery disease] that will likely change clinical practice worldwide by replacing invasive testing in patients with stable chest pain who can be expected to benefit” those with an intermediate pretest probability for obstructive disease, principal investigator Marc Dewey, MD, Charité – Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany, told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology.
None of the patient subgroups explored in the trial showed a significant clinical benefit from one strategy over the other, Dewey commented in an email.
The trial’s results don’t apply to patients unlike those entered, and in particular, he said, “ICA should remain the first test option in patients with high clinical pretest probability of obstructive CAD.”
Dewey is senior author on the study’s publication, which was timed to coincide with his presentation of the results at ECR 2022 Overture, an all-virtual scientific session of the European Congress of Radiology.
“This is the definitive study,” Matthew Budoff, MD, Lundquist Institute at Harbor-UCLA, Torrance, California, said to theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology. It suggests in a large population that the initial CTA strategy “is as good and maybe safer” in stable patients at intermediate risk compared with initial ICA. “I would say close to 75% or 80% of the patients that we see would fall into that range of risk” and be suitable for the testing algorithm used in the study, said Budoff, who was not part of the trial.