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New cardiac CT technology drastically reduces patient radiation exposure
Date:2/22/2010

OAK BROOK, Ill. In a new study published in the March issue of Radiology, researchers from Columbia University and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute have determined that an imaging exam of the heart using the latest generation of CT technology exposes patients to as much as 91 percent less radiation than standard helical CT scanning.

"Coronary CT angiography has generated great enthusiasm in recent years, due to its diagnostic accuracy in assessing patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease," said Andrew J. Einstein, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine in radiology and director of cardiac CT research at Columbia University Medical Center. "However, that enthusiasm has been tempered by concern about the potentially high radiation dose received by patients."

In CT, numerous x-ray beams and a set of x-ray detectors rotate around the patient, measuring the amount of radiation being absorbed in the body. At the same time, the exam table moves through the scanner allowing the x-ray beam to follow a helical or spiral path.

Many coronary CT angiography exams are conducted on 64-detector row CT scanners, which can image four centimeters at a time. The latest generation of CT technology, a 320-detector row volume CT scanner, can image 16 centimetersor the entire length of the heartin a single rotation and within a single heartbeat.

In his study, Dr. Einstein and a team of researchers compared the radiation exposure incurred during a coronary CT angiography procedure using a 64-detector row helical scanning and volume scanning, using a 320-detector row volume CT scanner. Phantoms simulating the male and female body were imaged using six different scan modes.

Using standard 64-detector row helical scanning as the benchmark, the effective radiation dose was reduced by 91 percent from 35.4 millisieverts (mSv) to 4.4 mSv using optimized 320-detector row volume scanning.

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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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