MDCT imaging of the aorta and peripheral vessels.
Since its clinical introduction in 1991, volumetric CT scanning using spiral or helical scanners has resulted in a revolution for diagnostic imaging. Helical CT has improved over the past 8 years with faster gantry rotation, more powerful X-ray tubes, and improved interpolation algorithms, but the greatest advance has been the recent introduction of multi detector-row CT (MDCT) scanners [J. Comput. Assist. Tomogr. 23 (1999) S83]. Currently capable of acquiring four channels of helical data simultaneously, MDCT scanners have achieved the greatest incremental gain in scan speed since the development of helical CT and have profound implications for clinical CT scanning. Fundamental advantages of MDCT include substantially shorter acquisition times, retrospective creation of thinner or thicker sections from the same raw data, and improved three-dimensional (3-D) rendering with diminished helical artifacts. While these features will likely be important to many applications of CT scanning, including the characterization of focal lung and liver lesions through the creation of thin sections retrospectively, the greatest impact has been on CT angiography. The implication for CT angiography is that scans can be performed approximately three-times faster than is possible with the fastest single-detector CT scanner. For example a 1.25 mm nominal thick section (1.6 mm effective section thickness) can be acquired with a table speed of 9.4 mm/s, and a 2.5 mm nominal thick section (3.2 mm effective section thickness) can be acquired with an 18.8 mm/s table speed. The advantages of MDCT for imaging the vascular system can be broken down into three fundamental improvements over single detector-row CT scanners speed (faster), distance (longer), and section thickness (better). The focus of this article will be how multidetector-row CT technology has substantially improved aortoiliac and lower extremity arterial imaging.
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