Purpose: To evaluate the effectiveness of electrocardiographically (ECG)-gated retrospective image reconstruction for multi-detector row computed tomographic (CT) coronary angiography in reducing cardiac motion artifacts and to evaluate the influence of heart rate on cardiac image quality.
Materials and methods: Sixty-five patients with different heart rates underwent coronary CT angiography. Raw helical CT data and ECG tracings were combined to retrospectively reconstruct at the defined consecutive z position with a temporal resolution of 250 msec per section. The starting points of the reconstruction were chosen between 30% and 80% of the R-R intervals. The relationships between heart rate, trigger delay, and image quality were analyzed.
Results: Optimal image quality was achieved with a 50% trigger delay for the right coronary artery and 60% for the left circumflex coronary artery. Optimal image quality for the left anterior descending coronary artery was equally obtained at 50% and 60% triggering. A significant negative correlation was observed between heart rate and image quality (P <.05). The best image quality was achieved when the heart rate was less than 74.5 beats per minute.
Conclusion: To achieve high image quality, the heart rate should be sufficiently slow. Selection of appropriate trigger delays and a decreasing heart rate are effective to reduce cardiac motion artifacts.