OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate image quality and radiation dose using a 100 kVp tube voltage scan protocol compared with standard 120 kVp for coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA). Concerns have been raised about radiation exposure during coronary CTA. The use of a 100 kVp tube voltage scan protocol effectively lowers coronary CTA radiation dose compared with standard 120 kVp, but it is unknown whether image quality is maintained.
METHODS: We enrolled 400 nonobese patients who underwent coronary CTA: 202 patients were randomly assigned to a 100 kVp protocol and 198 patients to a 120 kVp protocol. The primary end point was to demonstrate noninferiority in image quality with the 100 kVp protocol, which was assessed by a 4-point grading score (1 = nondiagnostic, 4 = excellent image quality). For the noninferiority analysis, a margin of -0.2 image quality score points for the difference between both scan protocols was pre-defined. Secondary end points included radiation dose and need for additional diagnostic tests during follow-up.
RESULTS: The mean image quality scores in patients scanned with 100 kVp and 120 kVp were 3.30 Â± 0.67 and 3.28 Â± 0.68, respectively (p = 0.742); image quality of the 100 kVp protocol was not inferior, as demonstrated by the 97.5% confidence interval of the difference, which did not cross the pre-defined noninferiority margin of -0.2. The 100 kVp protocol was associated with a 31% relative reduction in radiation exposure (dose-length product: 868 Â± 317 mGy Ã— cm with 120 kVp vs. 599 Â± 255 mGy Ã— cm with 100 kVp; p < 0.0001). At 30-day follow-up, the need for additional diagnostic studies did not differ (13.4% vs. 19.2% for 100 kVp vs. 120 kVp, respectively; p = 0.114).