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Technical aspects of CT angiography of the cardiac valves are reviewed, with an emphasis on the appearances of normal, pathologic, and postoperative cardiac valves.

Although echocardiography remains the principal imaging technique for assessment of the cardiac valves, contrast material–enhanced electrocardiographically gated computed tomographic (CT) angiography is proving to be an increasingly valuable complementary modality in this setting. CT angiography allows excellent visualization of the morphologic features and function of the normal valves, as well as of a wide range of valve diseases, including congenital and acquired diseases, infectious endocarditis, and complications of valve replacement. The number, thickness, and opening and closing of the valve leaflets, as well as the presence of valve calcification, can be directly observed. CT angiography also permits simultaneous assessment of the valves and coronary arteries, which may prove valuable in presurgical planning. Unlike echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging, however, CT angiography requires ionizing radiation and does not provide a direct measure of the valvular pressure gradient. Nevertheless, with further development of related imaging techniques, CT angiography can be expected to play an increasingly important role in the evaluation of the cardiac valves. Supplemental material available at here.

© RSNA, 2009


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Article History

Received: Jan 7 2009
Revision received: Feb 11 2009
Revision received: Mar 18 2009
Accepted: Mar 30 2009
Published in print: Sept 2009