Assessment of atherosclerotic plaque burden: comparison of AI-QCT versus SIS, CAC, visual and CAD-RADS stenosis categories

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The international journal of cardiovascular imaging




AI; Atherosclerosis; CACS; CAD-RADS; CCTA; Plaque burden; SIS


This study assesses the agreement of Artificial Intelligence-Quantitative Computed Tomography (AI-QCT) with qualitative approaches to atherosclerotic disease burden codified in the multisociety 2022 CAD-RADS 2.0 Expert Consensus. 105 patients who underwent cardiac computed tomography angiography (CCTA) for chest pain were evaluated by a blinded core laboratory through FDA-cleared software (Cleerly, Denver, CO) that performs AI-QCT through artificial intelligence, analyzing factors such as % stenosis, plaque volume, and plaque composition. AI-QCT plaque volume was then staged by recently validated prognostic thresholds, and compared with CAD-RADS 2.0 clinical methods of plaque evaluation (segment involvement score (SIS), coronary artery calcium score (CACS), visual assessment, and CAD-RADS percent (%) stenosis) by expert consensus blinded to the AI-QCT core lab reads. Average age of subjects were 59 ± 11 years; 44% women, with 50% of patients at CAD-RADS 1-2 and 21% at CAD-RADS 3 and above by expert consensus. AI-QCT quantitative plaque burden staging had excellent agreement of 93% (k = 0.87 95% CI: 0.79-0.96) with SIS. There was moderate agreement between AI-QCT quantitative plaque volume and categories of visual assessment (64.4%; k = 0.488 [0.38-0.60]), and CACS (66.3%; k = 0.488 [0.36-0.61]). Agreement between AI-QCT plaque volume stage and CAD-RADS % stenosis category was also moderate. There was discordance at small plaque volumes. With ongoing validation, these results demonstrate a potential for AI-QCT as a rapid, reproducible approach to quantify total plaque burden.