SOMATOM Definition Flash Ruling Out Coronary Atherosclerosis with 0.7 mSv

SOMATOM Definition Flash Scanning

Author: Stephan Achenbach, MD*; Andreas Blaha**
*Department of Cardiology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany
**Business Unit CT, Siemens Healthcare, Forchheim, Germany


A 53 year-old patient with atypical, stress-induced chest pain and a catalogue of typical cardiovascular risk factors presented to the cardiology department to rule out coronary artery disease. A bicycle stress ECG was possible only up to 75 watts and therefore non-diagnostic.


To rule out coronary artery disease in this patient, specific care was taken to choose a low dose, coronary CT angiography (CTA) protocol. Coronary CTA was performed in Flash Spiral mode (prospectively ECG triggered spiral acquisition, 0.28 second rotation time, pitch 3.4) utilizing 100 kV tube voltage and 320 mAs/rot. 60 ml of contrast agent (Ultravist 370) followed by the same amount of saline solution was injected at 6 ml/s to ensure a homogenous enhancement of the coronary arteries. Nitroglycerin was administered for good vasodilatation of the coronary arteries. The entire heart was scanned in just 230 milliseconds. Right coronary artery (RCA), posterior descending artery (PDA), left main- (LM) and left anterior descending (LAD), left circumflex (LCX) and even relatively small side branches such as the marginal branch (M1) or diagonal branch (D1,D2) were reliably visualized and the absence of stenoses was clearly demonstrated. Neither calcified nor non-calcified plaque was detected. The patient showed a regular coronary anatomy, ventricular size was normal and no incidental, non-cardiac findings were identified. The scan was performed with a DLP of 56, translating into an effective dose of 0.7mSv.


The examination demonstrates that it is possible to reliably rule out coronary artery stenoses with a dose below 1 mSv. In addition, the absence of any detectable coronary atherosclerotic plaque – whether calcified or non calcified - indicates a very low cardiac event risk in the future.

Volume rendered image of RCA, LM, LAD, M1, LCX
Volume rendered image of RCA and LAD, showing the entire LAD, artefact free RCA
CT angiography with eliminated contrast filled left ventricle entire coronary artery anatomy
Conventional “Angio-like view” using CT technology
MPR of the entire course of the RCA and proximal part of PDA
LAD embedded in the LAD groove in its entire course

Examination Protocol

Scanner SOMATOM Definition Flash
Scan area CorCTA
Scan length 102mm
Scan direction Cranio-Caudal
Scan time 0.23s
Tube voltage 100/100KV
Tube current 320mAs/rot
Dose modulation Care Dose
CTDIvol 3.09mGy
DLP 56
Dosis mSv 0,7mSv
Rotation time 0.28 s
Pitch 3.4
Slice collimation 128x0.6
Slice width 0.6 mm
Spatial Resolution 0.33 mm
Reconstruction increment 0.3
Reconstruction kernel B26f
Volume 60ml
Flow rate 6.0ml/s
Start delay Test Bolus

Date: 2009-07-09

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