Determination of coronary calcium with multi-slice spiral computed tomography: a comparative study with electron-beam CT

Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2002 Aug;18(4):295-303. doi: 10.1023/a:1015536705455.


Electron-beam Computed Tomography (EBCT) has been used for years to quantify coronary artery calcification as a marker of coronary atherosclerosis. The aim of this study was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of a new scanner, the Multi-slice Spiral CT (MSCT), for the assessment of coronary calcification and to compare this new technique to EBCT. The study population consisted of 99 male patients, aged 60 +/- 10 years with suspected or known coronary artery disease. With EBCT 40 axial slices, ECG-triggered (scan time = 100 ms, slice thickness = 3 mm), were acquired in one breath-hold (35 +/- 5 s). For MSCT simultaneous acquisition of four axial slices (scan time = 250 ms, slice thickness = 2.5 mm), allowed the entire heart (48 slices) to be covered in one breath-hold of 25 +/- 5 s. For quantification of coronary calcium the Volumetric Calcium Score (VCS) was calculated. There was an excellent correlation for the VCS (r = 0.994, p = 0.01, mean difference = 97 +/- 115) between both scanners. Comparison of low (1-100), moderate (101-400), high (401-1000) and very high score values (>1,000) showed no significant differences. The number of calcified lesions and densities were statistically not different. Mean variability of the two scans was 17%. The MSCT scanner is equivalent to EBCT for the determination and quantification of coronary calcium and can therefore be used for calcium screening. With application of the spiral mode technique further improvement in variability can be expected, thus allowing for follow-up studies to determine progression or regression of atherosclerosis with high accuracy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, Spiral Computed*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*