Advances in cardiac CT imaging: 64-slice scanner
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Background: Clinical progress by the development of multi-slice CT (MSCT) technology beyond 16 slices can more likely be expected from further improved spatial and temporal resolution rather than from a mere increase in the volume coverage speed. We present an evaluation of a recently introduced 64-slice CT (64SCT) system, which makes use of a periodic motion of the focal spot in the longitudinal direction (z-flying focal spot) to double the number of simultaneously acquired slices. Materials and Methods: A recently introduced 64SCT system (SOMATOM Sensation 64, Siemens Medical Solutions, Forchheim, Germany) is being described and tested in first clinical practice, applying the following parameters: z-flying focal spot technology, 64×0.6 mm slices; spatial resolution, 0.4 × 0.4 × 0.4 mm; gantry rotation time, 330 ms; temporal resolution, 83–165 ms. Various phantom studies and first clinically implemented protocols are being described, to evaluate the full spectrum of possible applications for this scanner type, with a focus on cardiac imaging. Results:ECG-gated cardiac scanning with this 64-slice CT system benefits clearly from both the improved temporal resolution and improved spatial resolution. These benefits enable a more reliable assessment of mixed plaques, due to reduced partial-voluming and beam-hardening artefacts caused by calcifications, and holds great promise for the reliable assessment of in-stent stenoses, as stent lumen visibility is clearly improved as compared to earlier MSCT systems. With the increased volume coverage and acquisition speed of the 64SCT system, a comprehensive emergency protocol of the thorax becomes feasible within an acceptable breath-hold time, performing an ECG-gated CT angiography of the complete thoracic vasculature. This protocol enables a detailed assessment of the thoracic aorta, the pulmonary arteries and the coronary arteries in one single examination. Conclusion:64SCT Cardiac imaging provides an increased spatial resolution with an isotropic voxel size of 0.4 mm and an improved temporal resolution of 83–165 ms. These benefits hold great promise especially for fast-moving organs requiring detailed imaging, such as the heart and coronary arteries.
KeywordsTemporal Resolution Volume Coverage Stent Lumen Isotropic Voxel Size Mixed Plaque
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