CT Studies

Non-contrast-enhanced CT studies provide information about the presence of coronary atherosclerosis and the extent of coronary atherosclerotic plaque burden but does not enable assessment of the vessel lumen, namely the direct visualization of significant coronary artery stenoses. Thus, an attempt was recently made both to measure the coronary artery calcium load and to detect coronary artery stenoses in contrast-enhanced CT studies. Although the great majority of calcified atherosclerotic plaques are still visible on contrast-enhanced CT studies, intravascular contrast material may simulate vascular calcification which may impair the accuracy of calcium scoring results and may hide small calcium deposits [20]. In addition, the potential nephrotoxicity of intravascular contrast media could not be ignored because this may be particularly harmful in patients with compromised renal function. Thus, for the assessment of coronary artery calcifications the use of a non-contrast-enhanced CT study protocol is strongly recommended.

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