Reduction of radiation dose for coronary computed tomography angiography using prospective electrocardiography-triggered high-pitch acquisition in clinical routine
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Submission date: 2018-01-30
Final revision date: 2018-02-28
Acceptance date: 2018-03-23
Publication date: 2018-06-08
Pol J Radiol, 2018; 83: 260-267
To evaluate the image quality, radiation exposure, and means of application in a group of patients who underwent coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) performed with low-dose prospective electrocardiography (ECG)-triggered acquisition in which a standard sequence was added if the low-dose sequence did not allow reliable exclusion of coronary stenosis with respect to image quality.

Material and methods:
The present study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine, and informed consent was obtained from all patients. The authors performed a retrospective review of 256 consecutive patients referred for CCTA using dual-source CT scanner (Definition FLASH, Siemens, Germany). CCTA was performed using prospective ECG-triggered high-pitch acquisition. In patients with higher heart rates (> 65 bpm) or in whom irregular heart rates were noted prior to the scan, a subsequent CCTA was performed immediately (double flash protocol). The effective radiation dose was calculated for each patient. All images were evaluated by two independent observers for quality on a four-point scale with 1 being non-diagnostic image quality and 4 being excellent.

Mean effective whole-body dose of CCTA was 1.6 ± 0.4 mSv (range, 0.4-5.4) for the entire cardiac examination and 0.9 ± 0.3 mSv (range, 0.4-2.8) for individual prospective ECG-triggered high-pitch CCTAs. In 27 of these patients with higher heart rates or occasional premature ventricular contractions or atrial fibrillation, subsequent CCTAs were performed immediately. The average image quality score was good to excellent with less than 1% unevaluable coronary segments. The double flash protocol resulted in a fully diagnostic CCTA in all cases.

The prospective ECG-triggered high-pitch CCTA technique is feasible and promising in clinical routine with good to excellent image quality and minimal radiation dose. The double flash protocol might become a more robust tool in patients with higher heart rates or arrhythmia.

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