Noninvasive Coronary Angiography with 16–Detector Row CT: Effect of Heart Rate

PURPOSE: To evaluate the effect of heart rate on the quality of coronary angiograms obtained with 16–detector row computed tomography (CT) by using temporally enhanced three-dimensional (3D) approaches.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The local ethics committee approved the study, and informed consent was obtained from all patients. Fifty patients underwent coronary CT angiography (heart rate range, 45–103 beats per minute). Raw data from helical CT and electrocardiography (ECG) were saved in a combined data set. Retrospectively ECG-gated images were reconstructed at preselected phases (50% and 80%) of the cardiac cycle. A 3D voxel-based approach with cardiac phase weighting was used for reconstruction. Testing for correlation between heart rate, cardiac phase reconstruction window, and image quality was performed with Kruskal-Wallis analysis. Image quality (freedom from cardiac motion–related artifacts) was referenced against findings at conventional angiography in a secondary evaluation step. Regression analysis was performed to calculate heart rate thresholds for future β-blocker application.

RESULTS: A significant negative correlation was observed between heart rate and image quality (r = 0.80, P < .001). Motion artifact–free images were available for 44 (88%) patients and were achieved consistently at a heart rate of 80 or fewer beats per minute (n = 39). Best image quality was achieved at 75 or fewer beats per minute. Segmental analysis revealed that 97% of arterial segments (diameter ≥ 1.5 mm according to conventional angiography) were assessable at 80 or fewer beats per minute. Premature ventricular contractions and rate-contained arrhythmia did not impede diagnostic assessment of the coronary arteries in 10 (83%) of the 12 patients affected.

CONCLUSION: Motion-free coronary angiograms can be obtained consistently with 16–detector row CT scanners and adaptive multicyclic reconstruction algorithms in patients with heart rates of less than 80 beats per minute.

© RSNA, 2004

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Article History

Published in print: Jan 2005