Precision of regional wall motion estimates from ultra-low dose cardiac CT using SQUEEZ
Resting regional wall motion abnormality (RWMA) has significant prognostic value beyond the findings of computed tomography (CT) coronary angiography. Stretch quantification of endocardial engraved zones (SQUEEZ) has been proposed as a measure of regional cardiac function. The purpose of the work reported here was to determine the effect of lowering the radiation dose on the precision of automatic SQUEEZ assessments of RWMA. Chronic myocardial infarction was created by a 2-h occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery in 10 swine (heart rates 80–100, ejection fraction 25–57%). CT was performed 5–11 months post infarct using first-pass contrast enhanced segmented cardiac function scans on a 320-detector row scanner at 80 kVp/500 mA. Images were reconstructed at end diastole and end systole with both filtered back projection and using the “standard” adaptive iterative dose reduction (AIDR) algorithm. For each acquisition, 9 lower dose acquisitions were created. End systolic myocardial function maps were calculated using SQUEEZ for all noise levels and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) between the left ventricle blood and myocardium was calculated as a measure of image quality. For acquisitions with CNR > 4, SQUEEZ could be estimated with a precision of ± 0.04 (p < 0.001) or 5.7% of its dynamic range. The difference between SQUEEZ values calculated from AIDR and FBP images was not statistically significant. Regional wall motion abnormality can be quantified with good precision from low dose acquisitions, using SQUEEZ, as long as the blood-myocardium CNR stays above 4.