Predictors of image quality of coronary computed tomography in the acute care setting of patients with chest pain

Fabian Bamberg, Suhny Abbara, Christopher L. Schlett, Ricardo C. Cury, Quynh A. Truong, Ian S. Rogers, John T. Nagurney, Thomas J. Brady, Udo Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective: We aimed to determine predictors of image quality in consecutive patients who underwent coronary computed tomography (CT) for the evaluation of acute chest pain. Method and materials: We prospectively enrolled patients who presented with chest pain to the emergency department. All subjects underwent contrast-enhanced 64-slice coronary multi-detector CT. Two experienced readers determined overall image quality on a per-patient basis and the prevalence and characteristics of non-evaluable coronary segments on a per-segment basis. Results: Among 378 subjects (143 women, age: 52.9 ± 11.8 years), 345 (91%) had acceptable overall image quality, while 33 (9%) had poor image quality or were unreadable. In adjusted analysis, patients with diabetes, hypertension and a higher heart rate during the scan were more likely to have exams graded as poor or unreadable (odds ratio [OR]: 2.94, p = 0.02; OR: 2.62, p = 0.03; OR: 1.43, p = 0.02; respectively). Of 6253 coronary segments, 257 (4%) were non-evaluable, most due to severe calcification in combination with motion (35%). The presence of non-evaluable coronary segments was associated with age (OR: 1.08 annually, 95%-confidence interval [CI]: 1.05-1.12, p < 0.001), baseline heart rate (OR: 1.35 per 10 beats/min, 95%-CI: 1.11-1.67, p = 0.003), diabetes, hypertension, and history of coronary artery disease (OR: 4.43, 95%-CI: 1.93-10.17, p < 0.001; OR: 2.27, 95-CI: 1.01-4.73, p = 0.03; OR: 5.12, 95%-CI: 2.0-13.06, p < 0.001; respectively). Conclusion: Coronary CT permits acceptable image quality in more than 90% of patients with chest pain. Patients with multiple risk factors are more likely to have impaired image quality or non-evaluable coronary segments. These patients may require careful patient preparation and optimization of CT scanning protocols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-188
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Acute chest pain
  • Cardiac computed tomography
  • Coronary CT angiography
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Image quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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