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Purpose Patients with hematuria and renal colic often undergo CT scanning. The purpose of our study was to assess variations in CT protocols and radiation doses for evaluation of hematuria and urinary stones in 20 countries. Method The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) surveyed practices in 51 hospitals from 20 countries in the European region according to the IAEA Technical cooperation classification and obtained following information for three CT protocols (urography, urinary stones, and routine abdomen-pelvis CT) for 1276 patients: patient information (weight, clinical indication), scanner information (scan vendor, scanner name, number of detector rows), scan parameters (such as number of phases, scan start and end locations, mA, kV), and radiation dose descriptors (CTDIvol, DLP). Two radiologists assessed the appropriateness of clinical indications and number of scan phases using the ESR Referral Guidelines and ACR Appropriateness Criteria. Descriptive statistics and Student’s t tests were performed. Results Most institutions use 3-6 phase CT urography protocols (80%, median DLP 1793-3618 mGy.cm) which were associated with 2.4-4.9-fold higher dose compared to 2-phase protocol (20%, 740 mGy.cm) (p < 0.0001). Likewise, 52% patients underwent 3-5 phase routine abdomen- pelvis CT (1574-2945 mGy.cm) as opposed to 37% scanned with a single-phase routine CT (676 mGy.cm). The median DLP for urinary stones CT (516 mGy.cm) were significantly lower than the median DLP for the other two CT protocols (p < 0.0001). Conclusions Few institutions (4/13) use low dose CT for urinary stones. There are substantial variations in CT urography and routine abdomen-pelvis CT protocols result in massive radiation doses (up to 2945-3618 mGy.cm).
Aim: The aim of this paper is to present baseline imaging data and the improvement that was achieved by the participating centers after applying practice-specific interventions that were identified during the course of a multicentric multinational research coordinated project. Introduction: The incidence and mortality rates from breast cancer are rising worldwide and particularly rapidly across the countries with limited resources. Due to lack of awareness and screening options it is usually detected at a later stage. Breast cancer screening programs and even clinical services on breast cancer have been neglected in such countries particularly due to lack of available equipment, funds, organizational structure and quality criteria. Materials and methods: A harmonized form was designed in order to facilitate uniformity of data collection. Baseline data such as type of equipment, number of exams, type and number of biopsy procedures, stage of cancer at detection were collected from 10 centers (9 countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Slovenia, Turkey, Uganda) were collected. Local practices were evaluated for good practice and specific interventions such as training of professionals and quality assurance programs were identified. The centers were asked to recapture the data after a 2-year period to identify the impact of the interventions. Results: The data showed increase in the number of training of relevant professionals, positive changes in the mammography practice and image guided interventions. All the centers achieved higher levels of success in the implementation of the quality assurance procedures. Conclusion: The study has encountered different levels of breast imaging practice in terms of expertise, financial and human resources, infrastructure and awareness. The most common challenges were the lack of appropriate quality assurance programs and lack of trained skilled personnel and lack of high-quality equipment. The project was able to create higher levels of breast cancer awareness, collaboration amongst participating centers and professionals. It also improved quality, capability and expertise in breast imaging particularly in centers involved diagnostic imaging.
The objective is to study mammography practice from an optimisation point of view by assessing the impact of simple and immediately implementable corrective actions on image quality. This prospective multinational study included 54 mammography units in 17 countries. More than 21,000 mammography images were evaluated using a three-level image quality scoring system. Following initial assessment, appropriate corrective actions were implemented and image quality was re-assessed in 24 units. The fraction of images that were considered acceptable without any remark in the first phase (before the implementation of corrective actions) was 70% and 75% for cranio-caudal and medio-lateral oblique projections, respectively. The main causes for poor image quality before corrective actions were related to film processing, damaged or scratched image receptors, or film-screen combinations that are not spectrally matched, inappropriate radiographic techniques and lack of training. Average glandular dose to a standard breast was 1.5 mGy (mean and range 0.59-3.2 mGy). After optimisation the frequency of poor quality images decreased, but the relative contributions of the various causes remained similar. Image quality improvements following appropriate corrective actions were up to 50 percentage points in some facilities. Poor image quality is a major source of unnecessary radiation dose to the breast. An increased awareness of good quality mammograms is of particular importance for countries that are moving towards introduction of population-based screening programmes. The study demonstrated how simple and low-cost measures can be a valuable tool in improving of image quality in mammography.