Evaluation of a quality control phantom for digital chest radiography.
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: To examine the effectiveness and suitability of a quality control (QC) phantom for a routine QC program in digital radiography. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The chest phantom consists of copper and aluminum cutouts arranged to resemble the appearance of a chest. Performance of the digital radiography (DR) system is evaluated using high and low contrast resolution objects placed in the "heart," "lung," and "subdiaphragm" areas of the phantom. In addition, the signal levels from these areas were compared to similar areas from clinical chest radiographs. RESULTS: The test objects included within the phantom were effective in assessing image quality except within the subdiaphragm area, where most of the low contrast disks were visible. Spatial resolution for the DR systems evaluated with the phantom ranged from 2.6 lp/mm to 4 lp/mm, falling within the middle of the line pair range provided. The signal levels of the heart and diaphragm regions relative to the lung region of the phantom were significantly higher than in clinical chest radiographs (0.67 versus 0.21 and 0.28 versus 0.10 for the heart and diaphragm regions, respectively). The heart-to-diaphragm signal level ratio, however, was comparable to those in clinical radiographs. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that the attenuation characteristics of the phantom are somewhat different from actual chests, but this did not appear to affect the post-processing used by the imaging systems and usefulness for QC of these systems. The qualitative and quantitative measurements on the phantom for different systems were similar, suggesting that a single phantom can be used to evaluate system performance in a routine QC program for a wide range of digital radiography systems. This makes the implementation of a uniform QC program easier for institutions with a mixture of different digital radiography systems.
Mah, E; Samei, E; Peck, DJ
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