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How good is the ACR accreditation phantom for assessing image quality in digital mammography?

How good is the ACR accreditation phantom for assessing image quality in digital mammography?

Academic Radiology 9(7): 764-772

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the American College of Radiology (ACR) accreditation phantom for assessing image quality in digital mammography. Digital images were obtained of an ACR accreditation phantom at varying mAs (constant kVp) and varying kVp (constant mAs). The average glandular dose for a breast with 50% glandularity was determined for each technique factor. Images were displayed on a 5 mega-pixel monitor, with the window width and level settings individually optimized for viewing the fibers, specks, and masses in the ACR phantom. Digital images of the ACR phantom were presented in a random manner to eight observers, each of whom indicated the number of objects visible in each image. Intraobserver variability was greater than interobserver variability for the detection of fibers and specks, but the reverse was true for the detection of masses. As the mAs increased, the number of fibers visible increased from less than one at 5 mAs to all six being visible at 80 mAs. The corresponding number of visible specks increased from 12 to 24, and the number of visible masses increased from 1.25 to about four. Above 26 kVp, object visibility was constant with increasing x-ray tube voltage. Reducing the x-ray tube voltage to 24 kVp, however, reduced the number of visible fibers from six to five, the number of visible specks from 24 to 21.1, and the number of visible masses from four to 3.1. Observer performance was approximately constant for average glandular doses greater than 1.6 mGy, so that the range of lesion detectability in the ACR phantom occurs at doses lower than those normally encountered in clinical practice. The current design of the ACR phantom is unsatisfactory for assessing image quality in digital mammography.

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Accession: 046279102

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PMID: 12139090

DOI: 10.1016/s1076-6332(03)80345-8

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