PURPOSE: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the accuracy of hypodense regions in non-contrast-enhanced cardiac computed tomography (unenhanced CT) to identify nonviable myocardial scar tissue.
METHODS: Hypodense areas were visually identified in unenhanced CT of 80 patients in the left ventricular anterior, apical, septal, lateral and inferior myocardium and CT density was measured in Hounsfield units (HU). Findings were compared to (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake by positron emission tomography (FDG PET), which served as the standard of reference to distinguish scar (<50 % FDG uptake) from viable tissue (≥50 % uptake).
RESULTS: Visually detected hypodense regions demonstrated a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) of 74, 97, 84 and 94 %, respectively. A receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis revealed a cutoff value of mean HU at <28.8 for predicting scar tissue with an area under the curve of 0.93 yielding a sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV of 94, 90, 67 and 99 %, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Hypodense regions in unenhanced cardiac CT scans allow accurate identification of nonviable myocardial scar tissue.