Multi-detector computed tomography (CT) scanners, by virtue of their high temporal and spatial resolution, permit imaging of the coronary arteries. However, motion artifacts, especially in patients with higher heart rates, can impair image quality. We thus evaluated the performance of a new dual-source CT (DSCT) with a heart rate independent temporal resolution of 83 ms for the visualization of the coronary arteries in 14 consecutive patients.
Methods: Fourteen patients (mean age 61 years, mean heart rate 71 min(-1)) were studied by DSCT. The system combines two arrays of an X-ray tube plus detector (64 slices) mounted on a single gantry at an angle of 90 degrees With a rotation speed of 330 ms, a temporal resolution of 83 ms (one-quarter rotation) can be achieved independent of heart rate. For data acquisition, intraveous contrast agent was injected at a rate of 5 ml/s. Images were reconstructed with 0.75 slice thickness and 0.5 mm increment. The data sets were evaluated concerning visibility of the coronary arteries and occurrence of motion artifact.
Results: Visualization of the coronary arteries was successful in all patients. Most frequently, image reconstruction at 70% of the cardiac cycle provided for optimal image quality (50% of patients). Of a total of 226 coronary artery segments, 222 (98%) were visualized free of motion artifact. In summary, DSCT constitutes a promising new concept for cardiac CT. High and heart rate independent temporal resolution permits imaging of the coronary arteries without motion artifacts in a substantially increased number of patients as compared to earlier scanner generations. Larger and appropriately designed studies will need to determine the method's accuracy for detection of coronary artery stenoses.