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Emergency Radiology

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 263–268

First Online: 18 April 2016Received: 09 December 2015Accepted: 05 April 2016

Abstract

Trauma patients at risk for, or suspected of, spinal injury are frequently transported to hospital using full spinal immobilisation. At the emergency department, immobilisation is often maintained until radiological work-up is completed. In this study, we examined how these devices for spinal stabilization influence visual image quality. Image quality was judged for both patient CT scans and phantom CT scans. CT scans of 217 patients were assessed retrospectively by two radiologists for visual scoring of image quality, scoring both quantity and impact of artifacts caused by the immobilization devices. For the phantom CT scans, eight set-ups were made, using a vacuum mattress without headblocks and a rigid and a soft-layered spineboard without headblocks, with standard soft-foam headblocks, or with new design headblocks. Overall, artifacts were found in 67 % of CT scans of patients on immobilization devices, which hampered diagnosis in 10 % of the cases. In the phantom CT scans, artifacts were present in all set-ups with one or more devices present and were seen in 20 % of all scan slices. The presence of headblocks resulted in more artifacts in both the patient CT scans and the phantom CT scans. Considerable effort should therefore be made to adjust the design of the immobilization devices and to remove the headblocks before CT scans are made.

KeywordsCT scan Image quality Spineboard Vacuum mattress Headblocks  Download fulltext PDF



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