Spiral CT angiography of the pulmonary circulation

Radiology. 1999 Sep;212(3):615-36. doi: 10.1148/radiology.212.3.r99se02615.


Spiral computed tomographic (CT) angiography of the pulmonary circulation has emerged recently as a potential useful diagnostic method for the evaluation of the pulmonary circulation. As a minimally invasive examination, this technique is becoming widely available and has progressively replaced conventional and digital pulmonary angiography as the standard diagnostic imaging modality of the pulmonary circulation. The purpose of this review is to capture the current state of the art of the technical aspects of spiral CT angiography, with special emphasis on the post-processing techniques currently available. As CT is responsible for a considerable part of the medical radiation dose applied to the population, the current trends for dose saving will also be emphasized. With regard to the clinical applications of spiral CT angiography, its introduction into the diagnostic work-up of pulmonary embolism has considerably modified the diagnostic algorithms. Our 8-year review of the literature presented herein is expected to provide the readers with a basis for formulating an informed opinion on this topic. In addition, a large number of congenital and acquired disorders of the pulmonary circulation are also relevant to this technique, and these indications are discussed in the context of the corresponding therapeutic options. Owing to the multiple possibilities inherent to this technique, spiral CT has the potential for cost savings without reduction in image quality or diagnostic accuracy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Angiography*
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / blood supply
  • Carcinoma, Bronchogenic / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Lung / blood supply*
  • Lung Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Artery / abnormalities
  • Pulmonary Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Veins / abnormalities
  • Pulmonary Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Sarcoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Vascular Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging