Modifications to mobile chest radiography technique during the COVID-19 pandemic – implications of X-raying through side room windows

A. England, E. Littler, S. Romani, P. Cosson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Modifications to common radiographic techniques have resulted from the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports exist regarding the potential benefits of undertaking mobile radiography through side room windows. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact on image quality and exposure factors when undertaking such examinations. Methods: A phantom based study was undertaken using a digital X-ray room. Control acquisitions, using a commercially available image quality test tool, were performed using standard mobile chest radiography acquisition factors. Image quality (physical and visual), incidence surface air kerma (ISAK), Exposure Index (EI) and Deviation Index (DI) were recorded. Image quality and radiation dose were further assessed for two additional (experimental) scenarios, where a side room window was located immediately adjacent to the exit port of the light beam diaphragm. The goal of experimental scenario one was to modify exposure factors to maintain the control ISAK. The goal of experimental scenario two was to modify exposure factors to maintain the control EI and DI. Dose and image quality data were compared between the three scenarios. Results: To maintain the pre-window (control) ISAK (76 μGy), tube output needed a three-fold increase (90 kV/4 mAs versus 90 kV/11.25 mAs). To maintain EI/DI a more modest increase in tube output was required (90 kV/8 mAs/ISAK 54 μGy). Physical and visual assessments of spatial resolution and signal-to-noise ratio were indifferent between the three scenarios. There was a slight statistically significant reduction in contrast-to-noise ratio when imaging through the glass window (2.3 versus 1.4 and 1.2; P = 0.005). Conclusion: Undertaking mobile X-ray examinations through side room windows is potentially feasible but does require an increase in tube output and is likely to be limited by minor reductions in image quality. Implications for practice: Mobile examinations performed through side room windows should only be used in limited circumstances and future clinical evaluation of this technique is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-199
JournalRadiography
Volume27
Issue number1
Early online date3 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

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