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Med Phys. 2013 Aug;40(8):081915. doi: 10.1118/1.4813904.

Can nontriggered thoracic CT be used for coronary artery calcium scoring? A phantom study.

Author information

1
Department of Radiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9700RB Groningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Coronary artery calcium score, traditionally based on electrocardiography (ECG)-triggered computed tomography (CT), predicts cardiovascular risk. However, nontriggered CT is extensively utilized. The study-purpose is to evaluate the in vitro agreement in coronary calcium score between nontriggered thoracic CT and ECG-triggered cardiac CT.

METHODS:

Three artificial coronary arteries containing calcifications of different densities (high, medium, and low), and sizes (large, medium, and small), were studied in a moving cardiac phantom. Two 64-detector CT systems were used. The phantom moved at 0-90 mm∕s in nontriggered low-dose CT as index test, and at 0-30 mm∕s in ECG-triggered CT as reference. Differences in calcium scores between nontriggered and ECG-triggered CT were analyzed by t-test and 95% confidence interval. The sensitivity to detect calcification was calculated as the percentage of positive calcium scores.

RESULTS:

Overall, calcium scores in nontriggered CT were not significantly different to those in ECG-triggered CT (p>0.05). Calcium scores in nontriggered CT were within the 95% confidence interval of calcium scores in ECG-triggered CT, except predominantly at higher velocities (≥50 mm∕s) for the high-density and large-size calcifications. The sensitivity for a nonzero calcium score was 100% for large calcifications, but 46%±11% for small calcifications in nontriggered CT.

CONCLUSIONS:

When performing multiple measurements, good agreement in positive calcium scores is found between nontriggered thoracic and ECG-triggered cardiac CT. Agreement decreases with increasing coronary velocity. From this phantom study, it can be concluded that a high calcium score can be detected by nontriggered CT, and thus, that nontriggered CT likely can identify individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, a zero calcium score in nontriggered CT does not reliably exclude coronary calcification.

PMID:
23927329
DOI:
10.1118/1.4813904
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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