Purpose: (a) To determine the accuracy of multi-detector row computed tomography (CT) in the measurement of the calcium concentration in a cardiac CT calibration phantom and (b) to assess the correlation of a traditional 3-mm section width CT coronary screening protocol and a 1.25-mm section width CT angiography imaging protocol in the quantification of the absolute mass of coronary calcium in patients who underwent both coronary screening and CT angiography with a multi-detector row CT scanner.
Materials and methods: A heart phantom containing calcified cylinders was scanned to determine calibration factors and absolute calcium mass. In 50 patients, the variability (value 1 - value 2/mean value 1 - value 2), limit of agreement (+/-2SD value 1 - value 2), and systematic error (mean value 1 - value 2) of the total amount of coronary calcium calculated at traditional 3-mm section width CT and at 1.25-mm section width CT angiography were determined.
Results: The correlation coefficient between the 3-mm section width, nonenhanced protocol and the 1.25-mm section width CT angiography protocol was very high (r = 0.977) and the mean variability was low (19.7%) for the absolute mass. There was a systematic error of -6.7 mg and a limit of agreement between 45.0 mg and -58.5 mg.
Conclusion: Use of the mass quantification algorithm in combination with a calibration phantom allows accurate quantification of coronary calcium. Measurements of calcium mass obtained at 1.25-mm section width CT angiography have the best agreement with those obtained at the traditional 3-mm section width imaging protocol.
Copyright RSNA, 2002