Evaluating mechanical valves with computed tomography (CT) can be problematic because artifacts from the metallic components of valves can hamper image quality. The purpose of this study was to determine factors affecting the image quality of cardiac CT to improve assessment of mechanical aortic valves. A total of 144 patients who underwent aortic valve replacement with mechanical valves (ten different types) and who underwent cardiac CT were included. Using a four-point grading system, the image quality of the CT scans was assessed for visibility of the valve leaflets and the subvalvular regions. Data regarding the type of mechanical valve, tube voltage, average heart rate (HR), and HR variability during CT scanning were compared between the non-diagnostic (overall image quality score ≤2) and diagnostic (overall image quality score >2) image quality groups. Logistic regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of non-diagnostic image quality. The percentage of valve types that incorporated a cobalt-chrome component (two types in total) and HR variability were significantly higher in the non-diagnostic image group than in the diagnostic group (P < 0.001 and P = 0.013, respectively). The average HR and tube voltage were not significantly different between the two groups (P > 0.05). Valve type was the only independent predictor of non-diagnostic quality. The CT image quality for patients with mechanical aortic valves differed significantly depending on the type of mechanical valve used and on the degree of HR variability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine