CT Angiography: a radiant future?

CT angiography of the coronary arteries is increasing in popularity, due to the wide availability of CT scanners, and the less invasive nature of the procedure itself. Such advantages come at a cost however, and recent studies are beginning to question the amount of radiation exposure received from such scans, and the long term harm caused.
More and more efforts are being made to reduce the amount of exposure as the technology matures, however standards still vary as to the appropriate patient group to which this imaging modality applies. Additionally, the risk/benefit ratio has not been fully calculated, with not enough data on both sides. 

The new joint consensus statement makes a couple of important points:

  • the two safety issues involved in the use of coronary CTA are related to the dose of radiation delivered during imaging and the need to use iodinated contrast material
  • in general, the literature on the economic effects of coronary CTA to date is very limited
  • future studies are needed to address the impact of variability in test performance and interpretation on the ability of coronary CTA to alter clinical care and improve future outcomes

Read the consensus statement here

IMAGE: Accuracy of dual-source CT coronary angiography: first experience in a high pre-test probability population without heart rate control. Scheffel H, Alkadhi H, Plass A, Vachenauer R, Desbiolles L, Gaemperli O, Schepis T, Frauenfelder T, Schertler T, Husmann L, Grunenfelder J, Genoni M, Kaufmann PA, Marincek B, Leschka S. Eur Radiol. 2006 Dec; 16(12): 2739-2747.


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