CT Scans of the Heart Can Be Done with Low Radiation Dose

February 4, 2009 (updated) -- Physicians are able to perform high-quality CT angiograms of the heart with minimal radiation exposure, according to a study published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Using dose-reduction strategies, some centers included in this study, dubbed PROTECTION I, were able to perform a 64-slice CT angiogram with a measured radiation exposure of 2.1 mSv (millisieverts), equivalent to the level of normal annual background radiation encountered by a resident of New York City -- and they were able to do this without degradation of the image.

However, some of the 50 international centers in this study performed similar CT angiograms at ten times that level of radiation, 21 mSv, prompting the authors to conclude:

"Median doses of CCTA (Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography) differ significantly between study sites and CT systems. Effective strategies to reduce radiation dose are available but some strategies are not frequently used. The comparable diagnostic image quality may support an increased use of dose-saving strategies in adequately selected patients."

source: Angioplasty.org

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