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Radiology. 2014 Jun;271(3):633-52. doi: 10.1148/radiol.14132232.

CT angiography after 20 years: a transformation in cardiovascular disease characterization continues to advance.

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From the Duke Clinical Research Institute, 2400 Pratt St, Box 17969, Durham, NC 27715 (G.D.R.); Department of Medical Imaging and Division of Cardiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada (J.L.); Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC (U.J.S.); and Department of Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif (D.F., S.N.).


Through a marriage of spiral computed tomography (CT) and graphical volumetric image processing, CT angiography was born 20 years ago. Fueled by a series of technical innovations in CT and image processing, over the next 5-15 years, CT angiography toppled conventional angiography, the undisputed diagnostic reference standard for vascular disease for the prior 70 years, as the preferred modality for the diagnosis and characterization of most cardiovascular abnormalities. This review recounts the evolution of CT angiography from its development and early challenges to a maturing modality that has provided unique insights into cardiovascular disease characterization and management. Selected clinical challenges, which include acute aortic syndromes, peripheral vascular disease, aortic stent-graft and transcatheter aortic valve assessment, and coronary artery disease, are presented as contrasting examples of how CT angiography is changing our approach to cardiovascular disease diagnosis and management. Finally, the recently introduced capabilities for multispectral imaging, tissue perfusion imaging, and radiation dose reduction through iterative reconstruction are explored with consideration toward the continued refinement and advancement of CT angiography.

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