RSNA 2017 CT Preview

Who uses CCTA more: radiologists or cardiologists?

By Abraham Kim, staff writer

November 2, 2017 --

Thursday, November 30 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSQ02-08 | Room S502AB
The ongoing tug-of-war between radiologists and cardiologists may be starting to favor one end: Radiologists now utilize coronary CT angiography (CCTA) at a higher rate than cardiologists do, according to this presentation.

In times past, radiologists were heavily involved in invasive percutaneous coronary angiography, and many performed these procedures themselves, but cardiology basically pushed radiologists out of the field, Dr. David C. Levin from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital told

"Now we're in a similar situation; we're talking about another kind of coronary angiography, and I would like to see radiologists maintain their roles in coronary CT angiography," he said.

The researchers reviewed the Medicare Physician/Supplier Procedure Summary (PSPS) Master Files for 2006-2015, specifically focusing on the usage rate of CCTA by physician specialty. They found that the total utilization rate of CCTA per 100,000 Medicare beneficiaries was only 210 in 2007. It then dropped in subsequent years to a low of 107 in 2012; the rate finally began to increase in 2014 and reached 117 in 2015.

In 2007, cardiologists' utilization of coronary CT angiography was about twice that of radiologists, but by 2015 utilization by radiologists was 38% higher than that of cardiologists.

It is encouraging that radiologists' utilization of CCTA has begun to increase, but it remains to be seen whether this procedure will become as widely used as it should be, Levin offered.

"Radiologists are becoming more active in performing these procedures, and cardiologists seem to be losing some interest in doing it themselves," he said.