What is the role of CT in the detection of coronary artery calcification?

Updated: Jul 24, 2019
  • Author: J Bayne Selby, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Conventional CT demonstrates calcification in 50% more vessels than fluoroscopy does in patients with angiographically proven stenosis. However, conventional CT has a slow scan time and is prone to artifacts from cardiac and respiratory motion and volume averaging.  

Electron-beam CT (EBCT) minimizes motion artifacts, because cardiac-gated imaging can be triggered by the R wave of the cardiac cycle. Imaging can be performed in diastole, minimizing cardiac motion. Typically, 20 contiguous, 100-millisecond, 3-mm thick sections are obtained during 1 or 2 breath-holds, and coronary artery calcification is observed as a bright white area along the course of coronary vessels. [5]  

Helical scans are performed with acquisition times approaching 0.5 second to 250 milliseconds. Calcific deposits are identified as bright white areas along the course of coronary arteries (see the image above). [4]


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