Patient radiation doses in cardiac computed tomography: comparison of published results with prospective and retrospective acquisition

Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2012 Jan;148(1):83-91. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncq602. Epub 2011 Feb 15.


Prospective ECG triggering has the potential of reducing radiation exposure while maintaining diagnostic accuracy of cardiac computed tomography (CT). The aim of this study is to review patient radiation doses associated with coronary artery calcium scoring (CACS) and CT coronary angiography (CTCA) and to compare results between prospective and retrospective acquisition schemes. Patient radiation doses from CACS and CTCA were extracted from 67 relevant studies. Mean effective dose for CACS and CTCA with prospective ECG triggering is significantly lower than retrospective acquisition, 0.9±0.4 vs. 3.1±1.4 mSv, p < 0.001, and 3.4±1.4 vs. 11.1±5.4 mSv, p < 0.001, respectively. In both cardiac CT examinations, application of dose modulation techniques result in significantly lower doses in retrospective schemes, however, even with dose modulation, retrospective acquisition is associated with significantly higher doses than prospective acquisition. The number of slices acquired per rotation and the number of X-ray sources of the CT scanner (single or dual source) do not have a significant effect on patient dose.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Burden
  • Cardiac-Gated Imaging Techniques / statistics & numerical data*
  • Coronary Angiography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiation Protection / methods
  • Radiation Protection / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radiometry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / statistics & numerical data*