A systematic literature review and meta-analysis of spectral CT compared to scintigraphy in the diagnosis of acute and chronic pulmonary embolisms

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PURPOSE: To examine the diagnostic accuracy of spectral CT pulmonary angiography (S-CTPA) using ventilation-perfusions lung scintigraphy (V/Q-scan) as a reference standard in the diagnosis of acute or chronic pulmonary embolism (APE/CPE) and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH).

METHODS: PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched for the period from 1 Jan 2006 to 7 Feb 2019; eligible studies had > 10 patients over 18 years old, a diagnostic outcome of PE or CTEPH, and used V/Q scan as a reference standard. Bias and applicability were assessed using QUADAS-2 tools. Sensitivities, specificities, and predictive values were noted or calculated from available information. Meta-analysis employed a fixed-effects model of Mantel and Haenszel. Heterogeneity was assessed with I-squared statistics.

RESULTS: Four hundred ninety-three unique records were identified. Following screening by title, 53 studies were included in the abstract and full-text assessment. A total of six articles were included; four were suitable for a meta-analysis. Pooled sensitivity was 94.2% (95% CI, 88.3-100%), pooled specificity was 88.5% (95% CI, 81.3-95.6%), and positive and negative predictive values were 87.8% (95% CI, 80.3-95.4%) and 94.5% (95% CI, 89.3-99.7%), respectively.

CONCLUSION: Data on S-CTPA for PE/CTEPH remains promising, but limited; only small studies with methodological issues are available. Evidence is best for CPE/CTEPH whereas no firm conclusions are possible for APE. There is a need for larger, prospective studies with a robust composite reference standard including state-of-the-art CTPA and V/Q-scans.

KEY POINTS: • S-CTPA has high sensitivity and specificity for perfusion defects in patients with PE or CPETH. • Methodological issues and diversity of reference standards were found in the small number of included studies. • There is a need for larger prospective studies with more robust composite reference standards.

TidsskriftEuropean Radiology
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 28. feb. 2020