Our objective was to evaluate the impact of multislice CT (MSCT) on image quality and diagnostic value of spiral CT angiograms. Over an 8-month period (January 2000 to August 2000), 134 consecutive patients, including 55 patients with underlying lung disease, underwent MSCT (group 1). Image quality and diagnostic results of CT angiograms were compared with those obtained in 125 consecutive patients, including 58 patients with underlying lung disease, evaluated with thin-collimation single slice CT (SSCT; group 2) over a similar period of time (January 1999 to August 1999). A 3-month clinical follow-up was systematically obtained in all patients who were not anticoagulated in the two groups. For a significantly longer mean z-axis coverage, the mean duration of data acquisition was significantly shorter with MSCT. The frequency of examinations devoid of motion artifacts was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2. In the absence of significant difference in the quality of vascular enhancement, mainly coded as good or excellent, the proportion of examinations interpretable down to the subsegmental arteries was higher in group 1 (57.5%) than in group 2 (13%) ( p<0.0001). The benefits of MSCT were more marked for patients with underlying respiratory disease and did not lead to a higher detection rate of peripheral pulmonary embolism. The negative predictive values of single-slice and multislice CT were 100 and 99%, respectively. Improvement in image quality on MSCT scans accounts for the improved diagnostic accuracy of CT angiography, in particular for patients with impaired respiratory function.