European journal of radiology vol:67 issue:2 pages:348-356
The purpose of the study was to evaluate image quality (IQ) associated with vascular radiology and vascular surgery procedures in Belgium and to determine reference values for future image quality assessment. IQ was evaluated with the CD-DISC contrast-detail phantom. This circular PMMA phantom contains 225 holes with different diameter and depth, to quantify resolution and contrast. Images of the phantom were acquired for both fluoroscopy and subtraction images on 21 systems. Three observers evaluated the images by determining the threshold contrast visible for every diameter. This results in contrast-detail curves and image quality figures. We observed a large difference in IQ between the centres. No straightforward correlation could be found with radiation dose or other exposure settings. A comparison was made with the image quality evaluation of the systems performed with the TOR[18FG] phantom for fluoroscopy. There is no clear correlation observed between the results of the CD-DISC phantom and the TOR phantom. However, systems with very poor or very good image quality could be detected by both phantoms. An important result is that a 75th percentile reference contrast-detail curve could be proposed to separate the best centres from these with poorer quality. Some centres had also a significantly better image quality than others. Therefore, we introduced also a 25th percentile. Centres with IQ above this value are recommended to lower the dose and work with acceptable rather than excellent image quality. The CD-DISC phantom thus allows to guide the image quality setting.