Evaluation of the coronary venous system using electron beam computed tomography

T C Gerber, P F Sheedy, M R Bell, D L Hayes, J A Rumberger, T Behrenbeck, D R Holmes, R S Schwartz
International Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging 2001, 17 (1): 65-75
New therapeutic strategies in interventional cardiology and electrophysiology involve the coronary veins. This study examines the potential usefulness of electron beam computed tomography to obtain detailed noninvasive definition of the coronary venous anatomy and of arteriovenous relationships. Electron beam computed tomography allows acquisition and three-dimensional reconstruction of tomographic images of the beating heart with high spatial and temporal resolution. Contrast-enhanced, thin-section electron beam computed tomographic coronary arteriographic images of 34 patients (21 men and 13 women, age 60+/-10 years) were analyzed. The visibility of the coronary veins and their spatial relationship to the coronary arteries were assessed qualitatively on two- and three-dimensional displays. The coronary sinus was visible in 91%, the great cardiac vein in 100%, the middle cardiac vein in 88%, at least one vein overlying the lateral surface of the left ventricle in 97%, the anterior interventricular vein in 97%, and the small cardiac vein in 68%. A left marginal and a left posterior vein were seen in 44%, one of the two in 38%, and neither in 3%. The course of the anterior interventricular vein was parallel to the left anterior coronary artery in 79% and a crossover between the two vessels at an obtuse angle occurred in 12%. Contrast-enhanced electron beam computed tomography imaging of the heart noninvasively provides information on the coronary venous system and arteriovenous relationships that may help guide new interventional procedures.

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