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Radiation dose and image quality in diagnostic radiology. Optimization of the dose-image quality relationship with clinical experience from scoliosis radiography, coronary intervention and a flat-panel digital detector

Radiation dose and image quality in diagnostic radiology. Optimization of the dose-image quality relationship with clinical experience from scoliosis radiography, coronary intervention and a flat-panel digital detector

Acta Radiologica. Supplementum 43(427): 1-43

X-rays are known to cause malignancies, skin damage and other side effects and they are thus potentially dangerous. Therefore, it is essential and in fact mandatory to reduce the radiation dose in diagnostic radiology as far as possible. This is also known as the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle. However, the dose is linked to image quality and the image quality may not be lowered so far that it jeopardizes the diagnostic outcome of a radiographic procedure. The process of reaching this balance between dose and image quality is called optimization. The aim of this thesis was to propose and evaluate methods for optimizing the radiation dose-image quality relationship in diagnostic radiography with a focus on clinical usefulness. The work was performed in three main parts. OPTIMIZATION OF SCOLIOSIS RADIOGRAPHY: In the first part, two recently developed methods for digital scoliosis radiography (digital exposure and pulse fluoroscopy) were evaluated and compared to the standard screen-film method. Radiation dose was measured as kerma area-product (KAP), entrance surface dose (ESD) and effective dose; image quality was assessed with a contrast-detail phantom and through visual grading analysis. Accuracy in angle measurements was also evaluated. The radiation dose for digital exposure was nearly twice as high as the screen-film method at a comparable image quality while the dose for pulsed fluoroscopy was very low but with a considerably lower image quality. The variability in angle measurements was sufficiently low for all methods. Then, the digital exposure protocol was optimized to a considerably lower dose with a slightly lower image quality compared to the baseline. FLAT-PANEL DETECTOR: In the second part, an amorphous-silicon direct digital flat-panel detector was evaluated using a contrast-detail phantom, measuring dose as entrance dose. The flat-panel detector yielded a superior image quality at a lower dose than both storage phosphor plates and screen-film. Equivalent image quality compared to storage phosphor plates was reached at about one-third of the dose. OPTIMIZATION OF PERCUTANEOUS CORONARY INTERVENTION (PCI): In the third part, influence of various settings on radiation dose and image quality in coronary catheterisation and PCI was investigated. Based on these findings, the dose rate for fluoroscopy was reduced to one-third. The dose reduction was evaluated in a clinical series of 154 PCI procedures before and 138 after the optimization. Through this optimization, the total KAP was significantly reduced to two-thirds of the original value. This thesis indicates the possibility of dose reduction in diagnostic radiology through optimization of the radiographic process.

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Accession: 047159346

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PMID: 12108231

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