OBJECTIVE: To compare the image quality obtained with the different protocols in a new chest digital tomosynthesis (DTS) system.
METHODS: A chest phantom was imaged with chest X-ray equipment with DTS. 10 protocols were used, and for each protocol, nine acquisitions were performed. Four observers visually rated the quality of the reconstructed section images according to pre-defined quality criteria in four different classes. The data were analysed with visual grading characteristics (VGC) analysis, using the vendor-recommended protocol [12-s acquisition time, source-to-image distance (SID) 180 cm] as reference, and the area under the VGC curve (AUCVGC) was determined for each protocol and class of criteria.
RESULTS: Protocols with a smaller swing angle resulted in a lower image quality for the classes of criteria "disturbance" and "homogeneity in nodule" but a higher image quality for the class "structure". The class "demarcation" showed little dependency on the swing angle. All protocols but one (6.3 s, SID 130 cm) obtained an AUCVGC significantly <0.5 (indicating lower quality than reference) for at least one class of criteria.
CONCLUSION: The study indicates that the DTS protocol with 6.3 s yields image quality similar to that obtained with the vendor-recommended protocol (12 s) but with the clinically important advantage for patients with respiratory impairment of a shorter acquisition time.
ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: The study demonstrates that the image quality may be strongly affected by the choice of protocol and that the vendor-recommended protocol may not be optimal.
2015. Vol. 88, no 1053, 20150057- p.