Multi-detector CT reliably permits visualization of coronary arteries, but due to the occurrence of motion artefacts at heart rates >65 bpm caused by a temporal resolution of 165 ms, its utilisation has so far been limited to patients with a preferably low heart rate. We investigated the assessment of image quality on computed tomography of coronary arteries in a large series of patients without additional heart rate control using dual-source computed tomography (DSCT). DSCT (Siemens Somatom Definition, 83-ms temporal resolution) was performed in 165 consecutive patients (mean age 64 +/- 11.4 years) after injection of 60-80 ml of contrast. Data sets were reconstructed in 5% intervals of the cardiac cycle and evaluated by two readers in consensus concerning evaluability of the coronary arteries and presence of motion and beam-hardening artefacts using the AHA 16-segment coronary model. Mean heart rate during CT was 65 +/- 10.5 bpm; visualisation without artefacts was possible in 98.7% of 2,541 coronary segments. Only two segments were considered unevaluable due to cardiac motion; 30 segments were unassessable due to poor signal-to-noise ratio or coronary calcifications (both n = 15). Data reconstruction at 65-70% of the cardiac cycle provided for the best image quality. For heart rates >85 bpm, a systolic reconstruction at 45% revealed satisfactory results. Compared with earlier CT generations, DSCT provides for non-invasive coronary angiography with diagnostic image quality even at heart rates >65 bpm and thus may broaden the spectrum of patients that can be investigated non-invasively.