Submillisievert Median Radiation Dose for Coronary Angiography with a Second-Generation 320–Detector Row CT Scanner in 107 Consecutive Patients

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The second-generation 320–detector row CT scanner provided excellent image quality over a wide range of body sizes and heart rates at lower radiation doses compared with a previous-generation CT scanner.


To (a) use a new second-generation wide-volume 320–detector row computed tomographic (CT) scanner to explore optimization of radiation exposure in coronary CT angiography in an unselected and consecutive cohort of patients referred for clinical purposes and (b) compare estimated radiation exposure and image quality with that from a cohort of similar patients who underwent imaging with a previous first-generation CT system.

Materials and Methods

The study was approved by the institutional review board, and all subjects provided written consent. Coronary CT angiography was performed in 107 consecutive patients with a new second-generation 320–detector row unit. Estimated radiation exposure and image quality were compared with those from 100 consecutive patients who underwent imaging with a previous first-generation scanner. Effective radiation dose was estimated by multiplying the dose-length product by an effective dose conversion factor of 0.014 mSv/mGy ⋅ cm and reported with size-specific dose estimates (SSDEs). Image quality was evaluated by two independent readers.


The mean age of the 107 patients was 55.4 years ± 12.0 (standard deviation); 57 patients (53.3%) were men. The median body mass index was 27.3 kg/m2 (range, 18.1–47.2 kg/m2); however, 71 patients (66.4%) were overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. A tube potential of 100 kV was used in 97 patients (90.6%), single-volume acquisition was used in 104 (97.2%), and prospective electrocardiographic gating was used in 106 (99.1%). The mean heart rate was 57.1 beats per minute ± 11.2 (range, 34–96 beats per minute), which enabled single-heartbeat scans in 100 patients (93.4%). The median radiation dose was 0.93 mSv (interquartile range [IQR], 0.58–1.74 mSv) with the second-generation unit and 2.67 mSv (IQR, 1.68–4.00 mSv) with the first-generation unit (P < .0001). The median SSDE was 6.0 mGy (IQR, 4.1–10.0 mGy) with the second-generation unit and 13.2 mGy (IQR, 10.2–18.6 mGy) with the first-generation unit (P < .0001). Overall, the radiation dose was less than 0.5 mSv for 23 of the 107 CT angiography examinations (21.5%), less than 1 mSv for 58 (54.2%), and less than 4 mSv for 103 (96.3%). All studies were of diagnostic quality, with most having excellent image quality. Three of four image quality indexes were significantly better with the second-generation unit compared with the first-generation unit.


The combination of a gantry rotation time of 275 msec, wide volume coverage, iterative reconstruction, automated exposure control, and larger x-ray power generator of the second-generation CT scanner provides excellent image quality over a wide range of body sizes and heart rates at low radiation doses.

© RSNA, 2013

Supplemental material:


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Article History

Received November 25, 2012; revision requested December 5; revision received December 21; accepted December 27; final version accepted December 28.
Published online: Apr 2013
Published in print: Apr 2013