Purpose: To evaluate the effect of heart rate on the quality of coronary angiograms obtained with 16-detector row computed tomography (CT) by using temporally enhanced three-dimensional (3D) approaches.
Materials and methods: The local ethics committee approved the study, and informed consent was obtained from all patients. Fifty patients underwent coronary CT angiography (heart rate range, 45-103 beats per minute). Raw data from helical CT and electrocardiography (ECG) were saved in a combined data set. Retrospectively ECG-gated images were reconstructed at preselected phases (50% and 80%) of the cardiac cycle. A 3D voxel-based approach with cardiac phase weighting was used for reconstruction. Testing for correlation between heart rate, cardiac phase reconstruction window, and image quality was performed with Kruskal-Wallis analysis. Image quality (freedom from cardiac motion-related artifacts) was referenced against findings at conventional angiography in a secondary evaluation step. Regression analysis was performed to calculate heart rate thresholds for future beta-blocker application.
Results: A significant negative correlation was observed between heart rate and image quality (r = 0.80, P < .001). Motion artifact-free images were available for 44 (88%) patients and were achieved consistently at a heart rate of 80 or fewer beats per minute (n = 39). Best image quality was achieved at 75 or fewer beats per minute. Segmental analysis revealed that 97% of arterial segments (diameter > or = 1.5 mm according to conventional angiography) were assessable at 80 or fewer beats per minute. Premature ventricular contractions and rate-contained arrhythmia did not impede diagnostic assessment of the coronary arteries in 10 (83%) of the 12 patients affected.
Conclusion: Motion-free coronary angiograms can be obtained consistently with 16-detector row CT scanners and adaptive multicyclic reconstruction algorithms in patients with heart rates of less than 80 beats per minute.
(c) RSNA, 2004.