It is proposed to research a number of problems confronting interventional radiology, digital imaging and digital mammography These must be addressed to ensure the widespread availability of these procedures for all European Citizens. Generic approaches and radiation protection tools must be developed to enable these technological advances to become accepted in clinical practice. The objective is safer, more cost effective healthcare. The research will support the medical exposures directive in terms of reference levels, optimisation, justification, acceptability of equipment, teaching / training and referral criteria.
The DIMOND Project has produced a number of outcomes which have resulted in exploitable results. In particular, the image quality and dose management for digital projection radiography have been well elaborated. One of the main problems with the introduction of digital imaging is that despite the detectors being more efficient, patient doses have tended to increase. The immediate availability of images together with the ease of acquisition has meant that the number of images acquired with digital systems tend to increase. This project has developed a number of radiation protection tools and software which will facilitate the evaluation of new imaging techniques. Radiologists need to know what clinical image quality is required for a given imaging procedure. In turn, the clinical image quality must be related to measurable physical image quality indices such as defective quantity efficiency. A series of software tools have been developed within the project so that it is possible to measure DQE on a wide range of digital imaging systems. Thus a wide range of digital imaging systems may be assessed. Software has been written to enable the results of commercially available alternative fixed dose phantoms to be assessed automatically and contrast detail diagrams to be produced. These have been linked to clinical image quality classes for digital projection radiography. Guidelines have been produced which take into account the clinical situation. The existing referral guidelines for imaging published by the EC have been updated.
The EC has also produced referral guidelines for imaging. These have been adapted for use in digital imaging. Imaging systems have been classified into three speed classes, fast, medium and slow. A consensus approach was used to determine the image quality and hence speed classes required for specific clinical problems. Software has been written which automatically evaluates the results of constancy tests performed on stored digital radiography images. This approach uses the DIN standards phantoms produced by Pehamed. The program serves the orientation of the phantom in the image. It then calculates characteristic values for high contrast/low contrast resolution, homogeneity, the square wave response of a lead bar pattern and the alignment of the light field/x-ray field. Results of this phantom evaluation are stored on a database, so that images over a period of time may be evaluated. All images on a PACS system contain patient dosimetry information. Images may be interrogated using appropriate software to deduce the radiation dose and quality assurance parameters. A working prototype has been constructed to obtain large scale patient dose survey data. The international Electrotechnical Commission has been approached regarding standardisation of the dosimetry data contained in the DICOM header.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
2629 JB Delft
3000 Louvain / Leuven
NE4 6BE Newcastle Upon Tyne