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Identification and effects of common errors and artifacts on the perceived quality of radiographs

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences and Veterinary Health Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences and Veterinary Health Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences and Veterinary Health Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences and Veterinary Health Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

Abstract

Objective—To identify common errors in film and digital radiographs provided by referring veterinarians and determine the effect of such errors on the perceived diagnostic quality of image sets.

Design—Prospective study.

Sample—135 sets of radiographic images acquired by referring veterinarians for client-owned small animals evaluated at a university hospital.

Procedures—Sets of radiographs were prospectively collected and evaluated for proper performance of various radiographic technical variables including exposure, collimation, positioning, inclusion of all appropriate views, presence of artifacts, radiation safety, and labeling. Sets of radiographs were subjectively determined to be of diagnostic or nondiagnostic quality by 2 evaluators.

Results—The variables exposure, correct positioning, absence of artifacts, and acquisition of all appropriate views were significantly associated with a determination of diagnostic quality for radiograph sets. Correct patient labeling, radiation safety, and x-ray beam centering and collimation were not associated with a determination of diagnostic quality for radiograph sets. The number of categories with errors was significantly associated with identification of radiograph sets as having diagnostic or nondiagnostic quality. Digital radiographs had a significantly lower number of image artifacts and significantly higher frequency of proper labeling versus film radiographs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study suggested the technical variables proper exposure, proper positioning, absence of artifacts, and acquisition of all appropriate views were important for acquisition of sets of radiographs of high diagnostic quality. Identification of these errors and adjustment of radiographic technique to eliminate such errors would aid veterinarians in obtaining radiographs of high diagnostic quality and may reduce misinterpretation.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Nuth (ellienuth@gmail.com).