Preoperative assessment of the aortic arch in children younger than 1 year with congenital heart disease: utility of low-dose high-pitch dual-source computed tomography. A single-centre, retrospective analysis of 62 cases

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To evaluate the feasibility, image quality and impact of 3D imaging in low-dose high-pitch dual-source computed tomography (DSCT) to assess arbitrary anatomical malformations of the aortic arch in children <1 year of age with congenital heart disease (CHD).


Between January 2010 and May 2013, DSCT was performed to assess the aortic arch anatomy in a total of 62 consecutive patients with CHD (aged 0-348 days). DSCT was used whenever conventional echocardiography was not sufficient to display the complex anatomy entirely. Image data acquisition was realized within a single cardiac cycle using prospective ECG triggering. 3D reconstruction for surgical planning was performed. Image quality was assessed retrospectively, using a 4-point scale from ‘1 = no artefacts' to ‘4 = uninterpretable'. The accuracy and impact of the 3D reconstructions was compared with intraoperative findings using a 5-point scale (from ‘1 = essential' to ‘5 = misleading'). Administered radiation exposure was evaluated.


Imaging was successful in all patients, image quality was rated 1.34 on the 4-point scale and the impact of the 3D reconstructions for surgical planning was 2.05 on the 5-point scale. Mean dose-length product was 6.8 ± 2.6 mGy cm, and the effective dose was 0.45 ± 0.13 mSv (0.21-0.74).


DSCT is a fast and appropriate imaging modality in the preoperative assessment of the aortic arch for surgical planning in CHD.

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