Purpose: We sought to evaluate the radiation exposure of cardiac CT scans with 16-row multidetector computed tomography (MDCT). Additionally the possibility of dose reduction by using a ECG-controlled tube current modulation technique was evaluated.
Methods and material: An Alderson Rando phantom equipped with thermoluminescent dosimeters was used for dose measurements. Effective dose was calculated according to ICRP 60. Exposure was performed on a 16-row MDCT scanner with standard protocols for CT coronary calcium scoring (120 kV, 133 mAs, 12 x 1.5 mm) and CT coronary angiography (120 kV, 400 mAs, 12 x 0.75 mm). Exposure was repeated at a simulated heart rate of 60 bpm with ECG-pulsed tube current modulation.
Results: Effective dose was 2.9 mSv (male) and 3.6 mSv (female) for the calcium scoring protocol. CT coronary angiography resulted in an effective dose of 8.1 mSv (male) and 10.9 mSv (female). Using ECG-pulsed tube current modulation radiation exposure can significant reduced: by 46 % (1.6 mSv) in calcium scoring and by 47 % (4.3 mSv) in CT coronary angiography.
Conclusion: MDCT of the heart shows a significant radiation exposure, which can significantly be reduced by ECG-pulsed tube current modulation. Radiation exposure of cardiac MDCT is comparable to CT-examinations of chest or abdomen, but seem to be slightly higher compared to conventional coronary angiography.