CT angiography of the thoracic aorta.
Nine years after its introduction, spiral or helical CTA is being embraced as an important noninvasive tool for imaging the thoracic aorta and its branches. The high degree of accessibility and ease with which the studies are performed make it a viable alternative to aortography. Once familiar with the principles of CTA, the acquisition phase of the examination can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. Nevertheless, important challenges remain for CTA. The capabilities of MDCT to acquire thinner sections in shorter scan times have resulted in a veritable explosion of imaging data for radiologists to analyze. In this environment, efficient image processing workstations and software is critical to improving our ability to efficiently interpret these volumetric CT data. Finally, helical CT technology is far from static. Every year, new advances in engineering bring better image quality, improved resolution, and faster scan times. As medical imagers, we must not become complacent but rather constantly challenge ourselves to consider how we might further improve on our utilization of CT equipment to maximize the collection of information relevant to diagnosis and therapy.
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