Evaluation of non-invasive imaging parameters in coronary microvascular disease: a systematic review.

F Groepenhoff, RGM Klaassen, GB Valstar, SH Bots, NC Onland-Moret, Ruijter HM Den, T Leiner, ALM Eikendal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD) is an important underlying cause of angina pectoris. Currently, no diagnostic tool is available to directly visualize the coronary microvasculature. Invasive microvascular reactivity testing is the diagnostic standard for CMD, but several non-invasive imaging techniques are being evaluated. However, evidence on reported non-invasive parameters and cut-off values is limited. Thus, we aimed to provide an overview of reported non-invasive parameters and corresponding cut-off values for CMD.

Pubmed and EMBASE databases were systematically searched for studies enrolling patients with angina pectoris without obstructed coronary arteries, investigating at least one non-invasive imaging technique to quantify CMD. Methodological quality assessment of included studies was performed using QUADAS-2.

Thirty-seven studies were included. Ten cardiac magnetic resonance studies reported MPRI and nine positron emission tomography (PET) and transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) studies reported CFR. Mean MPRI ranged from 1.47 ± 0.36 to 2.01 ± 0.41 in patients and from 1.50 ± 0.47 to 2.68 ± 0.49 in controls without CMD. Reported mean CFR in PET and TTE ranged from 1.39 ± 0.31 to 2.85 ± 1.35 and 1.69 ± 0.40 to 2.40 ± 0.40 for patients, and 2.68 ± 0.83 to 4.32 ± 1.78 and 2.65 ± 0.65 to 3.31 ± 1.10 for controls, respectively.

This systematic review summarized current evidence on reported parameters and cut-off values to diagnose CMD for various non-invasive imaging modalities. In current clinical practice, CMD is generally diagnosed with a CFR less than 2.0. However, due to heterogeneity in methodology and reporting of outcome measures, outcomes could not be compared and no definite reference values could be provided.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalBMC Medical Imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Coronary flow reserve
  • Coronary microvascular dysfunction
  • Myocardial perfusion reserve
  • Non-invasive imaging
  • Reference values


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