The aim of this experimental study was to investigate visualization of various coronary artery stents with sub-millimeter multi-slice spiral computed tomography (MSCT) using a cardiac physical phantom. Four 3-mm stents of various designs were implanted in tubes with an inner diameter of 3 mm to simulate coronary artery. Stents were placed on a cardiac phantom and scanned at different heart rates. Retrospective ECG-gated adaptive segmental reconstruction technique was employed. Profile curves across longitudinal curved planar reconstruction images of the stents were generated. From the profile curve, the full width at half maximum was defined as the stent lumen index. The effect of heart rate and stent type on the stent lumen index was evaluated. Visual evaluation for each stent at various heart rates was also performed. The heart rate had no significant effect on in-stent visualization. However, in-stent visualization differed significantly for the various stent types for both profile curve analysis and visual evaluation (the Tukey-Kramer multiple comparisons test). Multiple regression analysis indicated that strut thickness, especially minimal strut thickness, was the significant influencing factor for the in-stent visualization. On the basis of four stent models examined it would appear that visualization of the coronary stent lumen varies depending on the stent type, but not on the heart rate. Stents with slim struts are preferable for in-stent evaluation with multi-slice spiral computed tomography.