Now showing 1 - 10 of 18
  • Publication
    The establishment of computed tomography diagnostic reference levels in Portugal
    The aims of this study were to investigate the frequency of Portuguese computed tomography (CT) examinations, identify protocol application and establish diagnostic reference levels (DRLs). CT departments (n=211) were surveyed nationally (June 2011–January 2012) and CT protocol information and dose data were collected, as were retrospective age-categorised paediatric CT data from three national paediatric centres. The proposed national CT DRLs (CTDIvol) for adults were 75, 18, 14, 18, 17, 36, 22, 27 and 16 mGy for head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, cervical, dorsal, lumbar and joints, respectively. The levels for paediatric head and chest examinations were as follows: 48 and 2 mGy (newborns), 50 and 6 mGy (5 y olds), 70 and 6 mGy (10 y olds) and 72 and 7 mGy (15 y olds). A limited number of current paediatric protocols aligned to recommended international age categorisations. Portuguese DRLs were generally higher than European recommendations, suggesting potential for optimisation. The need for greater standardisation of age-categorised paediatric protocols was identified.
      637Scopus© Citations 46
  • Publication
    Early experiences of radiographers in Ireland during the COVID-19 crisis
    BACKGROUND:Imaging is crucial for assessing the severity and progression of COVID-19. Radiographers are amongst the first-line health professionals that may be exposed to infected persons. This work describes the early experience of radiographers in Ireland to the impact of COVID-19 using two electronic surveys distributed 6 weeks apart. Results were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. RESULTS:A total of 370 responded to the first survey and 276 the second, with all six Irish health regions represented. Three quarters of radiographers (77%) reported having adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) available to them. However, almost half of the radiographers were inadvertently exposed to COVID-19-positive patients without appropriate PPE, largely attributed to poor communication and testing. Anxiety levels while initially high, reduced substantially 6 weeks into the crisis period. However, obvious distress was noted amongst some respondents. Forty percent of radiographers reported burnout symptoms due to the COVID-19 crisis and 30% reported considering changing jobs or retiring since the COVID-19 outbreak. CONCLUSION:Clear communication regarding changing protocols and importantly patients' infectious status are essential to safeguard healthcare workers and to minimise unnecessary anxiety and distress. Attention is required to staff mental health including the identification of burnout symptoms to prevent long-term negative consequences of the pandemic on radiography services.
      174Scopus© Citations 29
  • Publication
    Exploring the translational challenge for medical applications of ionising radiation and corresponding radiation protection research
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-03-18) ; ; ;
    Background: Medical applications of ionising radiation and associated radiation protection research often encounter long delays and inconsistent implementation when translated into clinical practice. A coordinated effort is needed to analyse the research needs for innovation transfer in radiation-based high-quality healthcare across Europe which can inform the development of an innovation transfer framework tailored for equitable implementation of radiation research at scale. Methods: Between March and September 2021 a Delphi methodology was employed to gain consensus on key translational challenges from a range of professional stakeholders. A total of three Delphi rounds were conducted using a series of electronic surveys comprised of open-ended and closed-type questions. The surveys were disseminated via the EURAMED Rocc-n-Roll consortium network and prominent medical societies in the field. Approximately 350 professionals were invited to participate. Participants’ level of agreement with each generated statement was captured using a 6-point Likert scale. Consensus was defined as median ≥ 4 with ≥ 60% of responses in the upper tertile of the scale. Additionally, the stability of responses across rounds was assessed. Results: In the first Delphi round a multidisciplinary panel of 20 generated 127 unique statements. The second and third Delphi rounds recruited a broader sample of 130 individuals to rate the extent to which they agreed with each statement as a key translational challenge. A total of 60 consensus statements resulted from the iterative Delphi process of which 55 demonstrated good stability. Ten statements were identified as high priority challenges with ≥ 80% of statement ratings either ‘Agree’ or ‘Strongly Agree’. Conclusion: A lack of interoperability between systems, insufficient resources, unsatisfactory education and training, and the need for greater public awareness surrounding the benefits, risks, and applications of ionising radiation were identified as principal translational challenges. These findings will help to inform a tailored innovation transfer framework for medical radiation research.
      52Scopus© Citations 1
  • Publication
    A Risk Score Including Carotid Plaque Inflammation and Stenosis Severity Improves Identification of Recurrent Stroke
    Background and Purpose— In randomized trials of symptomatic carotid endarterectomy, only modest benefit occurred in patients with moderate stenosis and important subgroups experienced no benefit. Carotid plaque 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake on positron emission tomography, reflecting inflammation, independently predicts recurrent stroke. We investigated if a risk score combining stenosis and plaque 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose would improve the identification of early recurrent stroke. Methods— We derived the score in a prospective cohort study of recent (<30 days) non-severe (modified Rankin Scale score ≤3) stroke/transient ischemic attack. We derived the SCAIL (symptomatic carotid atheroma inflammation lumen-stenosis) score (range, 0–5) including 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose standardized uptake values (SUVmax <2 g/mL, 0 points; SUVmax 2–2.99 g/mL, 1 point; SUVmax 3–3.99 g/mL, 2 points; SUVmax ≥4 g/mL, 3 points) and stenosis (<50%, 0 points; 50%–69%, 1 point; ≥70%, 2 points). We validated the score in an independent pooled cohort of 2 studies. In the pooled cohorts, we investigated the SCAIL score to discriminate recurrent stroke after the index stroke/transient ischemic attack, after positron emission tomography-imaging, and in mild or moderate stenosis. Results— In the derivation cohort (109 patients), recurrent stroke risk increased with increasing SCAIL score (P=0.002, C statistic 0.71 [95% CI, 0.56–0.86]). The adjusted (age, sex, smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, antiplatelets, and statins) hazard ratio per 1-point SCAIL increase was 2.4 (95% CI, 1.2–4.5, P=0.01). Findings were confirmed in the validation cohort (87 patients, adjusted hazard ratio, 2.9 [95% CI, 1.9–5], P<0.001; C statistic 0.77 [95% CI, 0.67–0.87]). The SCAIL score independently predicted recurrent stroke after positron emission tomography-imaging (adjusted hazard ratio, 4.52 [95% CI, 1.58–12.93], P=0.005). Compared with stenosis severity (C statistic, 0.63 [95% CI, 0.46–0.80]), prediction of post-positron emission tomography stroke recurrence was improved with the SCAIL score (C statistic, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.66–0.97], P=0.04). Findings were confirmed in mild or moderate stenosis (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.74 [95% CI, 1.39–5.39], P=0.004). Conclusions— The SCAIL score improved the identification of early recurrent stroke. Randomized trials are needed to test if a combined stenosis-inflammation strategy improves selection for carotid revascularization where benefit is currently uncertain.
      226Scopus© Citations 28
  • Publication
    High-resolution MRI (HR-MRI) of atherosclerotic plaque in symptomatic carotid stenosis – relationship with risk factors, treatment, and CT angiographic features
    Purpose: Traditional imaging techniques rely on arterial lumen stenosis as an indirect measure of mural plaque. HR-MRI allows direct imaging of mural plaque burden and composition. However, few data exist on the relationship of these parameters to clinical factors in patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis. We investigated the relationship between MR plaque features, clinical characteristics, and plaque morphology on CT angiography. Methods: A sub-group of patients included in the prospective BIOVASC plaque imaging study were included. Inclusion criteria were: (1) Speech/motor TIA or non-severe stroke (Rankin≤3) <72hours (2) Ipsilateral carotid stenosis ≥50% (3) Age≥50 (4) Carotid HR-MRI and CTA performed. Exclusions were pregnancy, malignancy, dementia, renal impairment, cervical irradiation/endarterectomy/stent. Semi-automated analysis of HR-MRI axial plaque images was done using PlaqueView and manual analysis of co-registered CTA performed. Results: 27 patients met inclusion criteria (78% men, mean age 66 years, 36% stroke/64%TIA, 39% current smoking). By HR-MRI, maximum plaque wall area was greater in patients with index stroke compared with TIA (p=0.007). Plaque maximum wall thickness was greater in diabetes (p=0.016) and statin-untreated patients (p=0.003). Volume of lipid-rich necrotic core was less (p=0.018) and fibrous cap thickness (p=0.05) greater in aspirin-treated patients. When HR-MRI was compared with CTA, high correlations were observed for lumen area (rho=0.976, p<0.001), maximum wall thickness (rho=0.878, p<0.001), and maximum wall area (Pearson r=0.981, p<0.001). Conclusion: If replicated, our findings may inform the application of plaque HR-MRI and CTA as surrogate markers in future clinical practice and randomised trials for stroke prevention.
  • Publication
    Establishment of CT diagnostic reference levels in Ireland
    (British Institute of Radiology, 2012-10) ; ;
    Objective: To propose Irish CT diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) by collecting radiation doses for the most commonly performed CT examinations. Methods: A pilot study investigated the most frequent CT examinations. 40 CT sites were then asked to complete a survey booklet to allow the recording of CT parameters for each of 9 CT examinations during a 12-week period. Dose data [CT volume index (CTDIvol) and dose–length product (DLP)] on a minimum of 10 average-sized patients in each category were recorded to calculate a mean site CTDIvol and DLP value. The rounded 75th percentile was used to calculate a DRL for each site and the country by compiling all results. Results are compared with international DRL data. Results: Data were collected for 3305 patients. 30 sites responded with data for 34 scanners, representing 54% of the national total. All equipment had multislice capability (2–128 slices). DRLs are proposed using CTDIvol (mGy) and DLP (mGy cm) for CT head (66/58 and 940, respectively), sinuses (16 and 210, respectively), cervical spine (19 and 420, respectively), thorax (9/11 and 390, respectively), high resolution CT (7 and 280, respectively), CT pulmonary angiography (13 and 430, respectively), multiphase abdomen (13 and 1120, respectively), routine abdomen/pelvis (12 and 600, respectively) and trunk examinations (10/12 and 850, respectively). These values are lower than current DRLs and comparable to other international studies. Wide variations in mean doses are noted across sites. Conclusions: Baseline figures for Irish CT DRLs are provided on the most frequently performed CT examinations. The variations in dose between CT departments as well as between identical scanners suggest a large potential for optimisation of examinations.
      419Scopus© Citations 119
  • Publication
    A questionnaire survey reviewing radiologists and clinical specialist radiographers knowledge of CT exposure parameters
    Objective: To review knowledge of computed tomography (CT) parameters and their influence on patient dose and image quality amongst a cohort of clinical specialist radiographers (CSRs) and examining radiologists. Methods:A questionnaire survey was devised and distributed to a cohort of 65 examining radiologists attending the American Board of Radiology exam in Kentucky in November 2011. The questionnaire was later distributed by post to a matching cohort of Irish CT CSRs. Each questionnaire contained 40 questions concerning CT parameters and their influence on both patient dose and image quality. Results: A response rate of 22 % (radiologists) and 32 % (CSRs) was achieved. No difference in mean scores was detected between either group (27.8 ± 4 vs 28.1 ± 4, P = 0.87) although large ranges were noted (18–36). Considerable variations in understanding of CT parameters was identified, especially regarding operation of automatic exposure control and the influence of kilovoltage and tube current on patient dose and image quality. Radiologists were unaware of recommended diagnostic reference levels. Both cohorts were concerned regarding CT doses in their departments. Conclusions: CT parameters were well understood by both groups. However, a number of deficiencies were noted which may have a considerable impact on patient doses and limit the potential for optimisation in clinical practice.
      269Scopus© Citations 30
  • Publication
    Radiation Protection No. 185 European Guidelines on Diagnostic Reference Levels for Paediatric Imaging
    The establishment and use of diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) have been recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and required in the European Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom Basic Safety Standards (BSS). DRLs are a useful tool in the quest to optimise patient doses in diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology (IR). Particular attention should be paid to establishing and using DRLs in paediatric radiology because children have a higher risk (for some organs and body areas) compared to adults from the detrimental effects of radiation. A comprehensive European and worldwide review of DRLs for paediatric examinations (Section 5 and Annex C) has indicated that only a few countries have set DRLs for paediatric examinations and there is a complete lack of national DRLs for many examinations, in particular for all paediatric interventional procedures. Furthermore, the existing DRLs are often adopted from the old European Commission (EC) recommendations or from other countries, and only a few countries have based their DRLs on their own national patient dose surveys. In many countries, the initial DRLs have never been updated. Due to the huge variation of patient sizes among the paediatric population, several age, size or weight groups are needed to establish the DRLs, and there has been little consistency in grouping of the patients. Extensive patient dose surveys are needed to establish DRLs but there has been no detailed guidance on how to carry out and report such surveys in order to ensure consistent methods and comparability of the DRLs, in particular for reliable evaluation of DRLs for use at a European level.
  • Publication
    An evaluation of in-plane shields during thoracic CT
    (Oxford University Press, 2013-08) ; ;
    The object of this study was to compare organ dose and image quality effects of using bismuth and barium vinyl in-plane shields with standard and low tube current thoracic CT protocols. A RANDO phantom was scanned using a 64-slice CT scanner and three different thoracic protocols. Thermoluminescent dosemeters were positioned in six locations to record surface and absorbed breast and lung doses. Image quality was assessed quantitatively using region of interest measurements.Scanning was repeated using bismuth and barium vinyl in-plane shields to cover the breasts and the results were compared with standard and reduced dose protocols. Dose reductions were most evident in the breast, skin and anterior lung when shielding was used, with mean reductions of 34, 33 and 10 % for bismuth and 23, 18 and 11 % for barium, respectively. Bismuth was associated with significant increases in both noise and CT attenuation values for all the three protocols, especial-ly anteriorly and centrally. Barium shielding had a reduced impact on image quality. Reducing the overall tube current reduced doses in all the locations by 20-27% with similar increases in noise as shielding, without impacting on attenuation values. Reducing the overall tube current best optimises dose with minimal image quality impact. In-plane shields increase noise and attenuation values, while reducing anterior organ doses primarily. Shielding remains a useful optimisation tool in CT and barium is an effective alternative to bismuth especially when image quality is of concern.
      322Scopus© Citations 14
  • Publication
    Association Between 18-FDG Positron Emission Tomography and MRI Biomarkers of Plaque Vulnerability in Patients With Symptomatic Carotid Stenosis
    Purpose: Pathologic studies suggest that unstable plaque morphology and inflammation are associated with cerebrovascular events. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18FDG-PET) is a validated technique for non-invasive imaging of inflammation-related plaque metabolism, and MRI can identify morphologic features of plaque instability. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of selected imaging characteristics of plaque vulnerability measured with MRI and PET in patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis. Methods: Patients from the BIOVASC study were selected based on the following inclusion criteria: (1) age ≥ 50 years; (2) recent (<30 days) ischaemic stroke (modified Rankin scale ≤3) or motor/speech/vision TIA; (3) ipsilateral internal carotid artery stenosis (≥5 0% lumen-narrowing); (4) carotid PET/CTA and MRI completed. Semi-automated plaque analysis of MRI images was performed to quantify morphologic features of plaque instability. PET images were co-registered with CTA and inflammation-related metabolism expressed as maximum standardised uptake value (SUVmax). Results: Twenty-five patients met inclusion criteria (72% men, mean age 65 years). MRI-measured plaque volume was greater in men (1,708–1,286 mm3, p = 0.03), patients who qualified with stroke (1,856–1,440 mm3, p = 0.05), and non-statin users (1,325–1,797 mm3, p = 0.03). SUVmax was associated with MRI-measured plaque lipid-rich necrotic core (LRNC) in the corresponding axial slice (rs = 0.64, p < 0.001) and was inversely associated with whole-plaque fibrous cap thickness (rs = −0.4, p = 0.02) and calcium volume (rs = −0.4, p = 0.03). Conclusion: This study demonstrated novel correlations of non-invasive imaging biomarkers of inflammation-related plaque metabolism with morphological MRI markers of plaque instability. If replicated, our findings may support the application of combined MRI and PET to detect vulnerable plaque in future clinical practise and randomised trials.
      98Scopus© Citations 2