Prospectively ECG-triggered high-pitch spiral acquisition for cardiac CT angiography in routine clinical practice: Initial results

Patric Kröpil, Carlos A. Rojas, Brian Ghoshhajra, Rotem S. Lanzman, Falk R. Miese, Axel Scherer, Mannudeep Kalra, Suhny Abbara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study was conducted to evaluate the mode of application, image quality (IQ), and radiation exposure resulting from introduction of a prospectively electrocardiogram-triggered high-pitch cardiac computed tomography angiography (CTA) acquisition mode into routine clinical practice. Materials and Methods: A total of 42 prospectively triggered cardiac CTAs were conducted on 34 patients (11 female, 23 male; mean age 56±15 y) using a high-pitch mode (pitch 3.4) on a dual-source CT. In 8 of these patients with higher heart rates or occasional premature ventricular contractions, 2 immediately subsequent CTAs were performed ("double flash protocol"). Subjective IQ was assessed for coronary arteries using a 4-point scale (1=unevaluable to 4=excellent). Contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) was measured in 9 locations. CT Dose Index and dose-length product were obtained, and the patients' effective dose was calculated. Results: Mean effective doses were 2.6±1.4 mSv (range: 1.1 to 6.4) for the entire cardiac examination and 1.4±0.7 mSv (0.4 to 3.1) for individual high-pitch cardiac CTA. z-coverage ranged from 9.9 cm in a native coronary CTA to 31.4 cm in a bypass graft case. The overall subjective IQ was good to excellent (mean score: 3.5), with 1.5% unevaluable coronary segments. The "double flash protocol" resulted in a fully diagnostic CT study in all cases just after taking both scans into consideration. The mean CNR of all locations was 19.7±2.6. CONCLUSION:: Prospectively electrocardiograph-triggered high-pitch-mode cardiac CTA is a feasible and promising technique in clinical routine, allowing for evaluation of coronaries at good-to-excellent IQ and providing high CNR and minimal radiation doses. The "double flash protocol" might become a more robust tool in patients with elevated heart rates or premature ventricular contractions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-201
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of thoracic imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012


  • cardiac computed tomography
  • dose
  • flash
  • image quality
  • pitch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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