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Imaging the Heart-lung Relationships During a Chest Computed Tomography Examination: Is Electrocardiographic Gating the Only Option?

Remy-Jardin, Martine MD, PhD; Faivre, Jean-Baptiste MD; Santangelo, Teresa MD; Tacelli, Nunzia MD; Remy, Jacques MD

doi: 10.1097/RTI.0b013e3181e0f8c9

Before the advent of fast-scanning multidetector-row computed tomography (CT) technology, thoracic CT studies were exclusively used for the morphologic assessment of thoracic organs, as the concurrent examination of the heart was hampered by image degradation from cardiac motion artifacts. The introduction of fast rotation speed and dedicated cardiac reconstruction algorithms has opened new possibilities for chest imaging, starting with the possibility to integrate cardiac morphologic and functional information into a diagnostic CT scan of the chest. Initiated with 16-slice multidetector-row CT, this concept of integrating morphology and function has been further simplified with 64-slice CT scanners, thus allowing radiologists to provide vital information in the management of patients with a wide variety of acute or chronic respiratory disorders. Because this CT technology offers the possibility of generating high-resolution and motion-free images of the coronary arteries, evaluation of the coronary arteries during CT examinations of the chest should further widen the clinical applications of CT for respiratory patients, keeping in mind that cigarette smoking is a shared risk factor for both impaired lung function and cardiovascular events. The recent advent of high temporal resolution and high pitch modes with dual-source CT simplifies the concept of integrated cardiothoracic imaging, introducing non-electrocardiographic-gated coronary artery imaging. The purpose of this article is to review the successive approaches of these redefined borders of thoracic imaging.

Department of Thoracic Imaging, Hospital Calmette, University Center of Lille, Lille Cedex, France

Reprints: Martine Remy-Jardin, MD, PhD, Department of Thoracic Imaging, Hospital Calmette, Boulevard Jules Leclercq-59037, Lille Cedex, France (e-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.