Detective Quantum Efficiency (DQE) is the most important determinant of the effectiveness of any radiography set up (CR, DR and film based radiography). Higher DQE ratings indicate how effectively any X-ray detector captures stray electrons, relative to the amount of noise in the surroundings.
If your X-ray detectors are picking up more noise than X-ray particles, you won’t get clear images and they will have lower DQE ratings. Conversely, if they’re capturing more particles than noise, they’ll have a higher DQE rating.
The Importance of High DQE Ratings
There’s an inverse relationship between DQE ratings and patient radiation exposure. High DQE ratings express the ability of any detector to produce X-ray images within a set level of radiation exposure. The higher the DQE rating, the fewer X-rays it needs to present a clear image of a patient. Thus, detectors with high detective quantum efficiency values produce clearer or even better images than those with lower values.
Comparisons of DQEs Between Radiography Equipment
One of the most important reasons why healthcare facilities are being pushed to adopt DR imaging equipment is the equipment’s high DQEs. The development of DR flat panel detectors was a revolution in the medical industry because it halved the required amount of radiation dose to produce clear X-rays. CR and film X-rays require twice the amount of radiation than DR flat panel detectors to produce an image of similar quality.
Research indicates that DR flat panel detectors have DQE ratings 2–3 times higher than those of CR and conventional radiography, Compared to 25% DQE for CR. DR requires approximately one-third of the radiation needed by CR.
Significance of DQE and DR For Healthcare Facilities
As a general rule, all imaging facilities are required to comply with ALARA. As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) recommends that radiation doses be kept minimal when imaging patients. Although there is very low risk of radiation poisoning with X-rays, even repeated X-rays, ALARA represents a commitment to making healthcare as beneficial as possible for the patient. DR flat panel detectors with higher DQEs reinforce the responsibility of all healthcare providers to adopt the technology if they are to comply with ALARA.
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