Magic Angle in Cardiac CT

Eliminating Clinically Relevant Metal Artifacts in Pacemaker Leads with a Lead-Tip/Gantry Angle of ≤70°
Published:February 13, 2018DOI:

      Rationale and Objective

      To identify the influence of various parameters for reducing artifacts in computed tomography (CT) of commonly used pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) lead tips.

      Materials and Methods

      This ex vivo phantom study compared two CT techniques (Dual-Energy CT [DECT] vs. Dual-Source CT [DSCT]), as well as the influence of incremental alterations of current-time product and pacemaker lead-tip angle with respect to the gantry plane. Four pacemaker leads and one ICD lead were evaluated. The images were assessed visually on a five-point Likert scale (1 = artifact free to 5 = massive artifacts). Likert values 1–3 represent clinically relevant, diagnostic image quality.


      344 of 400 total images were rated with diagnostic image quality. The DECT and dual-source DSCT technique each scored 86% diagnostic image quality. Statistically, DECT images showed significantly improved image quality (P < .05). Concerning the current-time product, no statistically significant change was found. Regarding lead-tip positioning, an angle of ≤70° yielded 100% diagnostic image quality. Pacemaker and ICD leads were assessed to have statistically significant differences.


      Surprisingly, the lead-tip angle of 70° has been established as the key angle under which diagnostic image quality is always ensured, regardless of the imaging technique. Thus, we call 70° the “Magic angle” in CT pacemaker imaging.

      Key Words

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