CT angiography of the cardiac valves: normal, diseased, and postoperative appearances

Radiographics. 2009 Sep-Oct;29(5):1393-412. doi: 10.1148/rg.295095002.


Although echocardiography remains the principal imaging technique for assessment of the cardiac valves, contrast material-enhanced electrocardiographically gated computed tomographic (CT) angiography is proving to be an increasingly valuable complementary modality in this setting. CT angiography allows excellent visualization of the morphologic features and function of the normal valves, as well as of a wide range of valve diseases, including congenital and acquired diseases, infectious endocarditis, and complications of valve replacement. The number, thickness, and opening and closing of the valve leaflets, as well as the presence of valve calcification, can be directly observed. CT angiography also permits simultaneous assessment of the valves and coronary arteries, which may prove valuable in presurgical planning. Unlike echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging, however, CT angiography requires ionizing radiation and does not provide a direct measure of the valvular pressure gradient. Nevertheless, with further development of related imaging techniques, CT angiography can be expected to play an increasingly important role in the evaluation of the cardiac valves. Supplemental material available at http://radiographics.rsna.org/cgi/content/full/29/5/1393/DC1.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Angiography / methods*
  • Heart Valve Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Valve Diseases / surgery*
  • Heart Valves / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Valves / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Care
  • Prognosis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*