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Abstract Aims An algorithmic strategy for anatomical vs. functional testing in suspected coronary artery disease (CAD) (Anatomical vs. Stress teSting decIsion Support Tool; ASSIST) is associated with better outcomes than random selection. However, in the real world, this decision is rarely random. We explored the agreement between a provider-driven vs. simulated algorithmic approach to cardiac testing and its association with outcomes across multinational cohorts. Methods and results In two cohorts of functional vs. anatomical testing in a US hospital health system [Yale; 2013–2023; n = 130 196 (97.0%) vs. n = 4020 (3.0%), respectively], and the UK Biobank [n = 3320 (85.1%) vs. n = 581 (14.9%), respectively], we examined outcomes stratified by agreement between the real-world and ASSIST-recommended strategies. Younger age, female sex, Black race, and diabetes history were independently associated with lower odds of ASSIST-aligned testing. Over a median of 4.9 (interquartile range [IQR]: 2.4–7.1) and 5.4 (IQR: 2.6–8.8) years, referral to the ASSIST-recommended strategy was associated with a lower risk of acute myocardial infarction or death (hazard ratioadjusted: 0.81, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.77–0.85, P < 0.001 and 0.74 [95% CI 0.60–0.90], P = 0.003, respectively), an effect that remained significant across years, test types, and risk profiles. In post hoc analyses of anatomical-first testing in the Prospective Multicentre Imaging Study for Evaluation of Chest Pain (PROMISE) trial, alignment with ASSIST was independently associated with a 17% and 30% higher risk of detecting CAD in any vessel or the left main artery/proximal left anterior descending coronary artery, respectively. Conclusion In cohorts where historical practices largely favour functional testing, alignment with an algorithmic approach to cardiac testing defined by ASSIST was associated with a lower risk of adverse outcomes. This highlights the potential utility of a data-driven approach in the diagnostic management of CAD.

Original publication




Journal article


European Heart Journal - Digital Health


Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication Date