Radiation Dose and Image Quality at High-Pitch CT Angiography of the Aorta: Intraindividual and Interindividual Comparisons With Conventional CT Angiography

Paul Apfaltrer, E. Lexworth Hanna, U. Joseph Schoepf*, J. Reid Spears, Stefan O. Schoenberg, Christian Fink, Rozemarijn Vliegenthart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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OBJECTIVE. The objective of our study was to evaluate radiation dose and quantitative image quality parameters at high-pitch CT angiography (CTA) of the aorta compared with conventional CTA.

MATERIALS AND METHODS. We studied the examinations of 110 patients (65 men and 45 women; mean age +/- SD, 64 +/- 15 years) who had undergone CTA of the entire aorta on a second-generation dual-source CT system; 50 examinations were performed in high-pitch mode. The mean arterial attenuation, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), and figure of merit (FOM) were calculated for the high-pitch CTA and conventional CTA groups. Radiation exposures were compared.

RESULTS. All studies were considered of diagnostic quality. At high-pitch CTA, the mean tube voltage and tube current-exposure time product were 118 +/- 7 kV (SD) and 197 +/- 78 mAs compared with 120 +/- 1 kV and 258 +/- 78 mAs, respectively, at conventional CTA (p <0.05). The mean volume CT dose index, dose-length product, and effective dose were 8.1 +/- 2.4 mGy, 561.1 +/- 178.6 mGy x cm, and 9.6 +/- 3.0 mSv at high-pitch CTA and 18.3 +/- 7.7 mGy, 1162.6 +/- 480.1 mGy x cm, and 19.8 +/- 8.2 mSv at conventional CTA (p <0.001). Attenuation was similar for both protocols, whereas significantly less contrast medium was injected for high-pitch CTA than for standard-pitch CTA (87.3 +/- 16 mL vs 97.9 +/- 16 mL, respectively; p <0.01). The SNR and CNR were significantly lower in the high-pitch CTA examinations (p <0.01), whereas the FOM was nonsignificantly higher. Twenty patients underwent both high-pitch CTA and conventional CTA, with a 45% reduction in radiation dose (p <0.001).

CONCLUSION. High-pitch CTA of the aorta yields 45-50% reduction of radiation exposure as well as contrast medium savings with maintained vessel attenuation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1402-1409
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2012


  • aorta
  • CT angiography
  • high-pitch CT angiography
  • radiation dose

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