Helical prospective ECG-gating in cardiac computed tomography: radiation dose and image quality

Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2010 Jan;26(1):99-107. doi: 10.1007/s10554-009-9522-6. Epub 2009 Nov 7.


Helical prospective ECG-gating (pECG) may reduce radiation dose while maintaining the advantages of helical image acquisition for coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA). Aim of this study was to evaluate helical pECG-gating in CCTA in regards to radiation dose and image quality. 86 patients undergoing 64-multislice CCTA were enrolled. pECG-gating was performed in patients with regular heart rates (HR) < 65 bpm; with the gating window set at 70-85% of the cardiac cycle. All patients received oral and some received additional IV beta-blockers to achieve HR < 65 bpm. In patients with higher or irregular HR, or for functional evaluation, retrospective ECG-gating (rECG) was performed. The average X-ray dose was estimated from the dose length product. Each arterial segment (modified AHA/ACC 17-segment-model) was evaluated on a 4-point image quality scale (4 = excellent; 3 = good, mild artefact; 2 = acceptable, some artefact, 1 = uninterpretable). pECG-gating was applied in 57 patients, rECG-gating in 29 patients. There was no difference in age, gender, body mass index, scan length or tube output settings between both groups. HR in the pECG-group was 54.7 bpm (range, 43-64). The effective radiation dose was significantly lower for patients scanned with pECG-gating with mean 6.9 mSv +/- 1.9 (range, 2.9-10.7) compared to rECG with 16.9 mSv +/- 4.1 (P < 0.001), resulting in a mean dose reduction of 59.2%. For pECG-gating, out of 969 coronary segments, 99.3% were interpretable. Image quality was excellent in 90.2%, good in 7.8%, acceptable in 1.3% and non-interpretable in 0.7% (n = 7 segments). For patients with steady heart rates <65 bpm, helical prospective ECG-gating can significantly lower the radiation dose while maintaining high image quality.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coronary Angiography / methods*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Spiral Computed*