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Proceedings Paper

Anode heel affect in thoracic radiology: a visual grading analysis
Author(s): T. Mearon; P. C. Brennan
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Paper Abstract

For decades, the antero-posterior (AP) projection of the thoracic spine has represented a substantial challenge. Patient thickness varies substantially along the cranio-caudal axis resulting in images that are too dark for the upper vertebrae and too light, or with excessive quantum mottle, towards the 9th to 12th thoracic vertebra. The anode heel affect is a well known phenomenon, however there is a paucity of reports demonstrating its exploitation in clinical departments for optimising images. The current work, using an adult, tissue-equivalent anthropomorphic phantom, explores if appropriate positioning ofthe anode can improve image quality for thoracic spine radiology. At each of 5 kVps (70, 81, 90, 102, 109) thirty AP thoracic spine images were produced, 15 with the anode end of the tube towards the cranial part of the phantom and 15 with the anode end of the tube facing caudally. Visual grading analysis of the resultant images demonstrated significant improvements in overall image quality and visualisation of specific anatomical features for the cranially facing anode compared with the alternative position, which were most pronounced for the 1st to 4th and 9th to 12th vertebrae. These improvements were evident at 70, 81 and 90 kVp, but not for the higher beam energies. The results demonstrate that correct positioning of the X-ray tube can improve image quality for thoracic radiology at specific tube potentials. Further work is ongoing to investigate whether this easy to implement and cost-free technique can be employed for other examinations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 March 2006
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 6142, Medical Imaging 2006: Physics of Medical Imaging, 61423D (2 March 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.641623
Show Author Affiliations
T. Mearon, School of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Univ. College Dublin (Ireland)
P. C. Brennan, School of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Univ. College Dublin (Ireland)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6142:
Medical Imaging 2006: Physics of Medical Imaging
Michael J. Flynn; Jiang Hsieh, Editor(s)

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