The use of echocardiography for the non-invasive evaluation of coronary artery disease

Cesare R. Sirtori, Fabien Labombarda, Samuela Castelnuovo, Rebecca Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Citations (Scopus)


In the Western world, there are now millions of patients who undergo clinical procedures that evaluate coronary artery status each year. Methods span from direct imaging using angiography, computerized tomography, to nuclear magnetic imaging as well as to functional studies, such as positron emission tomography. These techniques have provided significant information to physicians, but there is still need for an improved accessibility. Angiographic methods are expensive and expose the patient to significant amounts of radiation, undesirable in younger patients. Among the novel technologies for coronary diagnostics, transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) of coronary arteries has provided an important alternative, particularly in everyday practice. Diagnostic arterial TTE can allow determination of the coronary wall lumen in at least three major coronary segments (left main [LM], left arterial descending [LAD] and right coronary artery [RCA]). Coronary wall thickness using the LAD has been preliminarily shown to be related to the risk of coronary events. Since it is well ascertained that coronary lesions found in any location indicate that at least 80% of the coronary tree is affected, this is very important clinical information. Evaluation of coronary status by TTE is a novel technology providing important information in ischemic syndromes, in cases of coronary malformations and other coronary diseases.KEY MESSAGES Coronary evaluation can be carried out by a variety of both invasive and non-invasive methods, many requiring radiation exposure or patient immobility. Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) of the coronaries can, in particular, evaluate the coronary wall thickness, and this may be directly related to the coronary disease risk. TTE is a useful method for the monitoring of coronary flow reserve and can allow the detection of coronary malformations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-141
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2017


  • Ultrasound
  • arterial wall thickness
  • coronaries
  • coronary artery disease
  • coronary malformations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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