Curtin University of Technology researchers have found a new way to minimise the radiation exposure patients are subjected to when undergoing computed radiography (CR), which has already attracted the attention of major manufacturers all over the world.
Although a highly effective way to create internal body images, CR – which uses X-ray technology to create computer images of the patient being imaged – requires the use of very precise levels of radiation.
Too much radiation can cause exposure problems which can be rectified by technicians with more radiation, known as dose creep.
However, using too much radiation can potentially create health problems in patients.
The solution, developed by Dr Curtise Ng, from Curtin’s Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, is an online automatic CR dose data mining program.
"Using this technology, hospitals will be able to monitor the amount of radiation patients are given," he said.
Developed using freeware and existing software, the data mining program uses images stored in the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) servers of CR machines for monitoring dose creep.
"Digital x-ray technologies such as CR and digital radiography can help a department operate more efficiently, but they can also lead to dose creep," Dr Ng said.
"Being exposed to more radiation than necessary is hardly advisable.
"This program provides an efficient and effective solution to this issue.
"It can be used with machines developed by different manufacturers, providing flexibility."
Since his paper was published online in the journal Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, Dr Ng has been approached by other academics for collaboration, and contacted by manufacturers to use his systems.
"It seems there is a real interest in this research," he said.
"The ultimate goal of my research would be to have the system used in hospitals all over the world."
(Source: Curtin University of Technology: Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine: October 2009)