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A technique applied during ECG-triggered CTA lowers the dose of radiation with no effect on images

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According to a new study, the reduction or even stop of "padding" while ECG-triggered coronary CT angiography cat_2(CTA) is carried out will results in significant decrease in radiation dose without reducing image quality. The study was published in the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. ECG-triggered coronary CTA is a common, minimally invasive technique that is applied to detect blockages in the coronary arteries.

Dr. Troy LaBounty, MD, lead author of the study, said "During ECG-triggered coronary CTA, there is a mandatory minimum time that the scanner must be on during each heartbeat, and there is typically extra time added before and after this which is referred to as (padding)," he added "By reducing or eliminating "padding" we shorten the scanner "on time" and lower the radiation dose," The study was carried out at three different sites, they were the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, NY, Fairfax Radiology Associates in Fairfax, VA, and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. The study involved 886 patients who were asked to have ECG-triggered coronary CTA with a padding duration of either 0, 1-99, or 100-150 milliseconds. Dr. LaBounty said "Results showed that increased padding was associated with a greater radiation dose (45% increase per 100-millisecond increase in padding)," Yet, there was no difference in image quality seen between the three groups.

Dr. LaBounty commented saying "Our data show that use of minimal or no padding can result in reduced radiation dose with preserved image interpretability in examinations of patients with excellent heart rate control," he added "Concerns regarding the radiation exposure associated with coronary CTA have resulted in the development of new techniques to reduce radiation dose. Padding duration can be adjusted on a patient by patient basis, and decreased padding should be considered in dose reduction strategies for patients with excellent heart rate control,"

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