Objective: To evaluate coronary stents in vitro using 128-slice-dual-source computed tomography (CT).
Methods: Twelve different coronary stents placed in a non-moving cardiac/chest phantom were examined by 128-slice dual-source CT using three CT protocols [high-pitch spiral (HPS), sequential (SEQ) and conventional spiral (SPIR)]. Artificial in-stent lumen narrowing (ALN), visible inner stent area (VIA), artificial in-stent lumen attenuation (ALA) in percent, image noise inside/outside the stent and CTDIvol were measured.
Results: Mean ALN was 46% for HPS, 44% for SEQ and 47% for SPIR without significant difference. Mean VIA was similar with 31% for HPS, 30% for SEQ and 33% for SPIR. Mean ALA was, at 5% for HPS, significantly lower compared with -11% for SPIR (p = 0.024), but not different from SEQ with -1%. Mean image noise was significantly higher for HPS compared with SEQ and SPIR inside and outside the stent (p < 0.001). CTDIvol was lower for HPS (5.17 mGy), compared with SEQ (9.02 mGy) and SPIR (55.97 mGy), respectively.
Conclusion: The HPS mode of 128-slice dual-source CT yields fewer artefacts inside the stent lumen compared with SPIR and SEQ, but image noise is higher. ALN is still too high for routine stent evaluation in clinical practice. Radiation dose of the HPS mode is markedly (less than about tenfold) reduced.