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Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2010 Jan;26(1):89-98. doi: 10.1007/s10554-009-9503-9. Epub 2009 Sep 19.

Coronary calcium mass scores measured by identical 64-slice MDCT scanners are comparable: a cardiac phantom study.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.


To assess whether absolute mass scores are comparable or differ between identical 64-slice MDCT scanners of the same manufacturer and to compare absolute mass scores to the physical mass and between scan modes using a calcified phantom. A non-moving anthropomorphic phantom with nine calcifications of three sizes and three densities was scanned 30 times on three 64-slice MDCT scanners of manufacturer A and on three 64-slice MDCT scanners of manufacturer B in both sequential and spiral scan mode. The mean mass scores and mass score variabilities of seven calcifications were determined for all scanners; two non-detectable calcifications were omitted. It was analyzed whether identical scanners yielded similar or significantly different mass scores. Furthermore mass scores were compared to the physical mass and mass scores were compared between scan modes. The mass score calibration factor was determined for all scanners. Mass scores obtained on identical scanners were similar for almost all calcifications. Overall, mass score differences between the scanners were small ranging from 1.5 to 3.4% for the total mass scores, and most differences between scanners were observed for high density calcifications. Mass scores were significantly different from the physical mass for almost all calcifications and all scanners. In sequential mode the total physical mass (167.8 mg) was significantly overestimated (+2.3%) for 4 out of 6 scanners. In spiral mode a significant overestimation (+2.5%) was found for system B and a significant underestimation (-1.8%) for two scanners of system A. Mass scores were dependent on the scan mode, for manufacturer A scores were higher in sequential mode and for manufacturer B in spiral mode. For system A using spiral scan mode no differences were found between identical scanners, whereas a few differences were found using sequential mode. For system B the scan mode did not affect the number of different mass scores between identical scanners. Mass scores obtained in the same scan mode are comparable between identical 64-slice CT scanners and identical 64-slice CT scanners on different sites can be used in follow-up studies. Furthermore, for all systems significant differences were found between mass scores and the physical calcium mass; however, the differences were relatively small and consistent.

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