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Tube Current Modulation Shows Benefits in Angiography

Method linked to reduced radiation exposure with no subjective loss in imaging quality

THURSDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- ECG-based tube current modulation shows benefits in patients undergoing "triple rule-out" coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA), and such modulation should be used in these examinations when possible, according to research published in the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Kevin M. Takakuwa, M.D., of the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, and colleagues analyzed data from 267 patients who presented to the emergency department with suspected acute coronary syndrome and underwent triple rule-out coronary CTA. During the second half of the study period, tube current modulation was usually used in those with heart rates below 65 beats per minute.

In patients evaluated without tube current modulation, the effective dose averaged 18 mSv, and in those with tube current modulation, the effective dose averaged 8.75 mSv, the researchers report. Image quality was also better in the latter group. Tube current modulation resulted in a drop in radiation exposure of at least half. Obese patients in both groups received more radiation than overweight or normal-weight patients, the report indicates.

"A number of factors impact the amount of radiation a patient receives in coronary CTA: system design, user-selected scanning parameters, and the use of tube current (mA) modulation. The results of this study showed that using tube current modulation significantly reduced radiation exposure in patients by age, sex and body mass index who had regular, slow heart rates without subjective loss of image quality," the authors write.

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