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Int J Cardiol. 2019 Nov 15;295:42-47. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2019.07.098. Epub 2019 Aug 4.

Impact of heart rate on coronary computed tomographic angiography interpretability with a third-generation dual-source scanner.

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Department of Imaging, Medicine, and Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, United States.
Department of Cardiac Imaging, Oklahoma Heart Institute, Tulsa, OK, United States.
Department of Imaging, Medicine, and Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, United States. Electronic address:



Guidelines suggest coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) should be performed with a heart rate (HR) below 60. Third-generation dual-source CT (DSCT) scanners, with improved temporal resolution, and end-systolic acquisition may facilitate imaging at higher HRs. We determined the influence of HR and end-systolic acquisition on image interpretability and quality with a third-generation DSCT.


Patients who underwent CCTA between July 2017 and December 2018 were retrospectively identified. All images were acquired using a SOMATOM Force scanner (Siemens Healthcare). The primary outcome was the presence of any uninterpretable coronary segment. The association between HR and CCTA with uninterpretable segments was assessed with multivariable logistic regression, correcting for demographics and imaging variables.


In total, 2620 patients were included, mean age 61.4 ± 12.9 years and 61.2% male, with uninterpretable segments present in 229 (8.7%) scans. In multivariable analysis, HR 80-89 was associated with an increased likelihood of having a scan with uninterpretable segments (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 4.53, p < 0.001). However, no significant association was present with end-systolic acquisition (HR 80-89, adjusted OR 2.32, p = 0.125). HR ≥ 90 was associated with a decreased likelihood of good or excellent image quality (adjusted OR 0.26, 95% CI 0.11-0.63, p = 0.003).


With third-generation dual-source CT scanners, patients with HR 60-80 can be imaged without impacting image interpretability. End-systolic image acquisition facilitates imaging at HRs > 80 without increasing non-diagnostic scans. Routine use of systolic gating could omit the need for strict HR control and pre-test beta blockade currently required for CCTA.


Coronary computed tomographic angiography; Heart rate; Image quality

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