Multislice helical CT of the heart with retrospective ECG gating: reduction of radiation exposure by ECG-controlled tube current modulation
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Our objective was to evaluate image quality and radiation exposure of retrospectively ECG-gated multislice helical CT (MSCT) investigations of the heart with ECG-controlled tube current modulation. One hundred patients underwent MSCT scanning (Somatom VolumeZoom, Siemens, Forchheim, Germany) for detection of coronary artery calcifications. A continuous helical data set of the heart was acquired in 50 patients (group 1) using the standard protocol with constant tube current, and in 50 patients (group 2) using an alternative protocol with reduced radiation exposure during the systolic phase. The standard deviations (SD) of predefined regions of interest (ROIs) were determined as a measure of image noise and were tested for significant differences. There was no significant difference between group 1 and group 2 with respect to image noise. Radiation exposure with and without tube current modulation was 1.0 and 1.9 mSv (p<0.0001), respectively, for males and 1.4 and 2.5 mSv (p<0.0001), respectively, for females; thus, there was a mean dose reduction of 48% for males and 45% for females, respectively. The ECG-controlled tube current modulation allows significant dose reduction when performing retrospectively ECG-gated MSCT of the heart.