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Laura Ramirez

RTE 142
Professor Yost

Notebook# 11
Briefly describe how and why all of the diagnostic imaging QC tests are
conducted. Include frequency, limits, corrective action, and equipment used:
Examples of some include Collimation, focal spot size, kVp, mA, exposure
reproducibility, exposure linearity, exposure timer accuracy, filtration (not
inclusive), include technologist responsibilities, physicist responsibilities
Outline form, mind map or bullet points
There are several test that will be done for the x-ray tube and it will include all
of the following:
Focal spot size estimation- An estimate of focal spot size is important so it is
kept within acceptable limits to ensure proper image detail. There are three
types of focal spot tools: line pair resolution tools, star test patterns, and
pinhole cameras. Both line pair resolution tools and star test patterns function
by imaging a resolution pattern on a film. A pinhole camera permits
measurement of the focal spot by creating an image of the effective focal spot
on a film. The National Electrical Manufactures Association (NEMA) specifies
that focal spot of 0.3mm and smaller may be measured with a star test
pattern. Focal spots larger than 0.3 mm should be measured with a pinhole
camera. When the focal spot grows to an unacceptable size, the x-ray tube
must be replaced. According to the NEMA focal spots:
-smaller than 0.8mm may be 50% larger than nominal
-between 0.8-1.5mm may be 40% larger than nominal
-larger than 1.5mm may be 30% larger than nominal
Half-value layer- The amount of total filtration in the primary beam is
important for both radiation protection and image quality. Half-value layers
are measured by using dosimetry equipment to detect the quality of
aluminum filtration that will reduce the beam intensity to half the original
value. The computerized quality control dosimeter provide a digital readout of
the half-value layer. It depends on kVp for the recommendations or
requirements. If insuficient filtration is present, the tube housing must be
modified to supply additional aluminum filtration.

Collimator, central ray, and bucky tray accuracy- The congruence of the
projected centring light field and the central ray with the actual collimated
primary x-ray beam and bucky tray is of critical importance for radiation
protection. Radiation protection is ensured by avoiding repeated images due
to over-collimation errors and avoiding irradiation of tissue unless it will be
imaged. A collimation test tool is simply a lead marker for each corner of the
light beam plus crosshairs or a lead marker, placed several centimeters above
the cassette surface, for the central ray. A 2% SID error is allowed between the
primary beam image and the light field size. The positive beam limitation
(PBL) mechanism should not permit the primary beam to be larger than the
cassette in the bucky tray unless the override lock is activated. When these
margins are error are exceeded, the collimator light or PBL mechanism must
be adjusted.
Distance and centering indicators accuracy- Many older x-ray units have
inaccurate distance indicators located on tube support stands or overhead
readouts. Assurance that distance and centering are accurate avoids the need
for repeated exposures due to the inverse square law, misalignment of the
central ray, and primary beam collimation.
-Distance indicators should be checked with a tape measure.
-Centering indicators can be checked by visual inspection of the collimator
light beam.
-Distance indicators should be plus or minus 10%
-Centering indicators should be plus or minus 2%
If indicators are not within limits they should be adjusted.
Angulator or protractor accuracy- X-ray tables, bucky units, and tubes with
angulators or protractors must provide accurate readings for positioning
baselines. They can be evaluated by using a large protractor for angle
measurements and a level to verify that locks, stops, and detents are set to
establish horizontal and perpendicular surfaces.
-Angles should be plus or minus 1%, with adjustments made when necessary.
Tests for x-ray generators:
Kilovoltage accuracy- Kilovoltage settings tend to drift over time, primarily as
a result of tube aging. This accuracy is very important in maintaining image
quality. If the kVp is accurate then the scale of contrast and density can be
predicted. Verification and calibration of the kVp ensure that technique
exposure charts will produce diagnostic quality images.
-If the settings drift beyond plus or minus 5 kVp of the labeled setting, the
generator must be recalibrated.
Timer accuracy- Exposure time settings also tend to drift over time. Their
accuracy is essential in maintaining image quality because exposure cannot be
predicted unless the time is accurate. Computerized dosimeters provide
digital readouts or printouts of exposure time, or a spinning top may be used
to measure 1 pulse generators and a motorized synchronous top may be used
for 3 pulse units.
-Exposure time settings should be maintained within plus or minus 5% of the
If the settings drift beyond this limit, the timing circuit or mechanism must be
mR/mAs and milliamperage linearity- Milliamperage settings also tend to
drift over time, primarily as a result of tube aging. Assurance is needed that
technique exposure charts will accurately produce diagnostic-quality images.
Comparative measurements are made for the same mAs at different mA
stations. Computerized dosimeters provide digital readouts or prinouts of
-Milliamperage stations should be maintained within plus or minus 10% of
each other, but some sources recommend maintaining the entire generator
within plus or minus 10%.
If the settings drift beyond the established limit, the generator must be
Exposure reproducibility- Generators must be capable of repeating exposures
accurately. This is ensured by measuring the mR/mAs of several different
exposures with the same technical factors. Computerized dosimeters provide
digital readouts or printouts of mR/mAs.
-Reproducibility should be maintained within plus or minus 5%.
If the readings are beyond this limit, the entire series of tube and generator
tests should be analyzed to attempt to isolate the problem.
Automatic exposure controls- The test for AEC should include the following:
Exposure reproducibility- The same reproducibility standards for diagnostic
radiography systems are applied to AECs.