What are the benefits of electron-beam CT (EBCT) over conventional CT for the detection of coronary artery calcification?

Updated: Jul 24, 2019
  • Author: J Bayne Selby, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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One of the factors that limit the speed of a conventional CT scanner is necessary rotation of the tube around the patient. EBCT completely avoids this problem because the machine does not have any moving parts. A beam of electrons is generated and then focused with a series of electromagnets. The beam is directed onto 1 of 4 tungsten targets under the patient. The resultant fan-shaped x-ray beam passes through the patient and is collected by a 210° arc of detectors above the patient. More than 3,000 detectors are used in this process.

EBCT allows the acquisition of 1.5- to 3-mm sections, with an exposure time of 100 milliseconds. The images are gated to the end of diastole, and the entire examination is performed during 1 breath-hold by the patient. Usually, 40-60 sections are obtained with this method.

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