Identification of Coronary Artery Calcification and Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease by Abdominal CT: A Resident Education Continuous Quality Improvement Project


Rationale and Objectives

Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring is an excellent imaging tool for subclinical atherosclerosis detection and risk stratification. We hypothesize that although CAC has been underreported in the past on computed tomography (CT) scans of the abdomen, specialized resident educational intervention can improve on this underreporting.

Materials and Methods

Beginning July 2009, a dedicated radiology resident cardiac imaging rotation and curriculum was initiated. A retrospective review of the first 500 abdominal CT reports from January 2009, 2011, and 2013 was performed including studies originally interpreted by a resident and primary attending physician interpretations. Each scan was reevaluated for presence or absence of CAC and coronary artery disease (CAD) by a cardiovascular CT expert reader. These data were then correlated to determine if the presence of CAC had been properly reported initially. The results of the three time periods were compared to assess for improved rates of CAC and CAD reporting after initiation of a resident cardiac imaging curriculum.


Statistically significant improvements in the reporting of CAC and CAD on CT scans of the abdomen occurred after the initiation of formal resident cardiac imaging training which included two rotations (4 weeks each) of dedicated cardiac CT and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging interpretation during the resident's second, third, or fourth radiology training years. The improvement was persistent and increased over time, improving from 1% to 72% after 2 years and to 90% after 4 years.


This single-center retrospective analysis shows association between implementation of formal cardiac imaging training into radiology resident education and improved CAC detection and CAD reporting on abdominal CT scans.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Academic Radiology, v. 22, issue 6, p. 704-707.

Copyright © 2015 AUR

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

SWL is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through grant number KL2TR000116.