Competitive athletes of all skill levels are at risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) due to certain heart conditions. Prior to engagement in high-intensity athletics, it is necessary to screen for these conditions in order to prevent sudden cardiac death. Cardiac-CT angiography (CCTA) is a reliable tool to rule out the leading causes of SCD by providing an exceptional overview of vascular and cardiac morphology. This allows CCTA to be a powerful resource in identifying cardiac anomalies in selected patients (i.e. unclear symptoms or findings at ECG or echocardiography) as well as to exclude significant coronary artery disease (CAD). With the advancement of technology over the last few years, the latest generations of computed tomography (CT) scanners provide better image quality at lower radiation exposures. With the amount of radiation exposure per scan now reaching the sub-millisievert range, the number of CT examinations it is supposed to increase greatly, also in the athlete's population. It is thus necessary for radiologists to have a clear understanding of how to make and interpret a CCTA examination so that these studies may be performed in a responsible and radiation conscious manner especially when used in the younger populations. Our work aims to illustrate the main radiological findings of CCTAs and highlight their clinical impact with some case studies. We also briefly describe critical features of state-of-the-art CT scanners that optimize different acquisitions to obtain the best quality at the lowest possible dose.
- Computed tomography
- Coronary CT angiography