Objective: Assessment of myocardial function can be performed at higher noise levels than necessary for coronary arterial evaluation. We evaluated image quality and radiation exposure of a dose-conserving functiononly acquisition vs retrospectively electrocardiogram (ECG)-gated coronary CTA with automatic tube current modulation.
Methods: Of 26 patients who underwent clinically indicated coronary CTA for coronary and function evaluation, 13 (Group I) underwent prospectively ECG-triggered coronary CTA, followed by low-dose retrospectively ECG-gated scan for function (128-slice dual-source, 80kVp; reference tube current, 100mA; 8-mm-thick multiplanar reformatted reconstructions) performed either immediately (n56) or after 5-to 10-min delay for infarct assessment (n57). 13 corresponding controls (Group II) underwent retrospectively ECG-gated protocols (automatic tube potential selection with CARE kV/CARE Dose 4D; Siemens Healthcare, Forchheim, Germany) with aggressive dose modulation. Image quality assessment was performed on the six Group I subjects who underwent early post-contrast dedicated function scan and corresponding controls. Radiation exposure was based on dose-length product.
Results: Contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) was preserved throughout the cardiac cycle in Group I and varied according to dose modulation in Group II. Visual image quality indices were similar during end systole but were better in Group II at end diastole. Although the total radiation exposure was equivalent in Group I and Group II (284 vs 280mGycm), the median radiation exposure associated with only the dedicated function scan was 138 mGycm (interquartile range, 116-203mGy cm).
Conclusion: A low-dose retrospective ECG-gated protocol permits assessment of myocardial function at a median radiation exposure of 138mGy cm and offers more consistent multiphase CNR vs traditional ECG-modulation protocols. This is useful for pure functional evaluation or as an adjunct to single-phase scan modes.
Advances in knowledge: Radiation exposure can be limited with a tailored myocardial function CT protocol while maintaining preserved images.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging