Image Quality, Contrast Enhancement, and Radiation Dose of ECG-Triggered High-Pitch CT Versus Non-ECG-Triggered Standard-Pitch CT of the Thoracoabdominal Aorta
AJR:198, April 2012
Michael A. Bolen Zoran B. Popovic Navdeep Tandon Scott D.FIamm Paul Schoenhagen Sandra S. Halliburton
OBJECTIVE. We sought to compare image quality, contrast enhancement, and radiation dose in patients undergoing ECG-triggered high-pitch helical CT or non-ECG-synchronized helical CT of the thoracoabdominal aorta.
MATERIALS AND METHODS. We retrospectively assessed data from 101 consecutive patients (81 men, 20 women; mean age, 71 ± 11 [SD] years) undergoing clinically indicated CT angiography (CTA) of the thoracoabdominal aorta on a dual-source scanner using either the ECG-triggered high-pitch helical mode (group 1, n = 52) or non-ECG-synchronized standard-pitch helical mode (group 2, n = 49) during the arterial phase. Two independent readers assessed image quality, noise, and contrast enhancement throughout the thoracoabdominal aorta. Scanner-reported dose-length product values were used to estimate effective dose values.
RESULTS. Image quality at the root-proximal ascending level was higher in group 1 (mean ± SD, 2.81 ± 0.40) than in group 2 (1.22 ± 0.47; p < 0.0001), with similar quality for both groups noted at other levels. Group 1 scans displayed higher image noise at all levels. The groups received a similar volume of contrast material (p = 0.77), and similar percentages of cases with acceptable contrast enhancement (> 250 HU) were noted in the two groups. The estimated radiation burden was significantly lower in group 1 (mean ± SD, 5.4 ± 1.8 mSv) than in group 2 (14.4 ± 5.1 mSv; p < 0.0001).
CONCLUSION. Imaging of the thoracoabdominal aorta with ECG-triggered high-pitch CTA provides higher quality images of the aortic root and ascending aorta with sufficient contrast enhancement and decreased estimated radiation dose compared with non-ECG-synchronized standard-pitch helical CT.