Background In patients with suspected angina pectoris, CT coronary angiography (CTCA) clarifies the diagnosis, directs appropriate investigations and therapies, and reduces clinical events. The effect on patient symptoms is currently unknown.
Methods In a prospective open-label parallel group multicentre randomised controlled trial, 4146 patients with suspected angina due to coronary heart disease were randomised 1:1 to receive standard care or standard care plus CTCA. Symptoms and quality of life were assessed over 6 months using the Seattle Angina Questionnaire and Short Form 12.
Results Baseline scores indicated mild physical limitation (74±0.4), moderate angina stability (44±0.4), modest angina frequency (68±0.4), excellent treatment satisfaction (92±0.2) and moderate impairment of quality of life (55±0.3). Compared with standard care alone, CTCA was associated with less marked improvements in physical limitation (difference −1.74 (95% CIs, −3.34 to −0.14), p=0.0329), angina frequency (difference −1.55 (−2.85 to −0.25), p=0.0198) and quality of life (difference −3.48 (−4.95 to −2.01), p<0.0001) at 6 months. For patients undergoing CTCA, improvements in symptoms were greatest in those diagnosed with normal coronary arteries or who had their preventative therapy discontinued, and least in those with moderate non-obstructive disease or had a new prescription of preventative therapy (p<0.001 for all).
Conclusions While improving diagnosis, treatment and outcome, CTCA is associated with a small attenuation of the improvements in symptoms and quality of life due to the detection of moderate non-obstructive coronary artery disease.