Vessel contrast was measured in the fluoroscopic images produced by a scanning-beam digital x-ray (SBDX) system and an image intensifier/television (II/TV) based system. The SBDX system electronically scans a series of pencil x-ray beams across the patient, each of which is directed at a distant small-area detector array. The reduction in detected scatter achieved with this geometry was expected to provide an increase in image contrast. Vessel contrast was evaluated from images of a phantom containing iodinated tubes. The vessels were inserted into an acrylic stack to provide a patient-mimicking scattering medium. Vessel diameter ranged from 0.3 to 3.1 mm. Images were acquired at 100 kVp with the SBDX and II/TV systems and averaged to reduce x-ray noise. The II/TV system was operated in the 6-in. image intensifier mode with an anti-scatter grid. The increase in contrast in the SBDX images, expressed as a ratio of the measured SBDX and II/TV contrasts, ranged from 1.63 to 1.79 for individual vessels. This agreed well with a prediction of the contrast improvement ratio for this experiment, based on measurements of the scatter fraction, object-plane line spread functions, and consideration of the source spectrum and detector absorption properties. The predicted contrast improvement ratio for SBDX relative to II/TV images was 1.62 to 1.77.