Cardiac computed tomography previous to atrial fibrillation ablation - effects of technological improvements and protocol optimization

Hugo Marques, Pedro de Araújo Gonçalves, António Miguel Ferreira, Rita Cruz, João Lopes, Rosana Dos Santos, Lucian Radu, Francisco Costa, João Mesquita, Pedro Carmo, Diogo Cavaco, Leonor Parreira, João Pisco, João Goyri O'Neill, Pedro Adragão

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BACKGROUND: Cardiac computed tomography (CT) can provide a precise tridimentional anatomic map and exclude intra-cardiac thrombus. We aimed to access the impact of CT protocol optimization and technological evolution on the contrast and radiation dose as well as on image quality previous to atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation.

METHODS: From a prospective registry of consecutive patients who underwent cardiac CT in a single center, we selected 270 patients in whom the CT was done for evaluation prior to AF ablation and they were distributed in 3 groups: Group1: the first 150 patients included; Group2: the last 60 patients performed with the same CT scanner; Group3: the first 60 exams performed with the new CT scanner. Quality of the protocol was access based on radiation dose, contrast volume used, the use of a second (delayed) acquisition, and on quantitative image quality analisis (signal to noise and contrast to noise ratios; density homogeneity racio between LA and LAA).

RESULTS: We found a significant radiation dose as well as contrast dose reduction between the first and last subgroups (G1: 5,6mSv and 100ml; G2: 1,3mSv and 90ml; G3: 0,6mSv and 65ml). Even though group 3 had less radiation and contrast used it still had better quantitative image quality (signal/noise of 13,5; contrast/noise 14,8; density homogeneity racio of 0,92).

CONCLUSION: Protocol optimization and technology both contributed to significant lower radiation dose and contrast volume used on cardiac CTs prior to AF ablation, without compromising image quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-883
Number of pages11
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Cardiologia
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Atrial fibrilation
  • Cardiac computed tomography
  • Left atrium
  • Radiation dose


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