Purpose: To compare image quality and patient radiation dose in a group of patients who underwent 64-detector computed tomography (CT) coronary angiography performed with prospective electrocardiographic (ECG) gating with image quality and radiation dose in a group of patients matched for clinical features who underwent 64-detector CT coronary angiography performed with retrospective ECG gating.
Materials and methods: Institutional review board approval was obtained for this HIPAA-compliant study, and the informed consent requirement was waived due to the retrospective study design. Two independent reviewers separately scored coronary artery segment image quality and overall image quality for 100 cardiac CT studies (50 in each group). Interobserver variability was calculated. Patient radiation dose for the actual examination z-axis length was recorded, and a normalized dose was calculated for a 12-cm z-axis length of a typical heart.
Results: The two groups matched well for clinical characteristics and CT parameters. There was good agreement for coronary artery segment image quality scores between the independent reviewers (kappa = 0.72). Of the 1253 coronary artery segments scored, the number of coronary artery segments that could not be evaluated in each group was similar (1.1% [seven of 614] in the prospective group vs 1.5% [10 of 647] in the retrospective group, P = .53). Image quality scores were not significantly different when matched for chest cross-sectional area (P > .05). Mean patient radiation dose was 77% lower for prospective gating (4.2 mSv) than for retrospective gating (18.1 mSv) (P < .01).
Conclusion: Use of 64-detector CT coronary angiography performed with prospective ECG gating has similar subjective image quality scores but 77% lower patient radiation dose when compared with use of retrospective ECG gating.