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Quality assurance of ultrasound systems: current status and review of literature

  • H. Grazhdani
  • E. David
  • O. Ventura Spagnolo
  • F. Buemi
  • A. Perri
  • N. Orsogna
  • S. Gigli
  • R. Chimenz
Review

Abstract

Diagnostic ultrasound (US) images can be obtained from a quality device, in optimal working conditions, combined with the capable actions of the operator in tweaking the equipment’s characteristics. The quality assurance (QA) is the topic of this review article, and it is addressed in an US practice through proper selection of the equipment when purchasing, and through care and preventive maintenance of the machine for ensuring accurate performance. For optimal US system functioning, QA steps carried out on the basis of a scheduled program are needed in any US practice or department. It is critical to confirm in a semiannual or annual basis that the image quality is maintained according to standards and any subtle change in equipment’s functioning is detected and amended at an early stage. The use of test objects (also called US testing phantoms) is required above the basic level of QA testing. The scope of this review article is to inform the US user about necessary QA knowledge and at the same time, present the state of the art of the most suitable test methods for US QA. We referred to relevant publications, selected after performing a systematic literature search of the MEDLINE, EMBASE and COCHRANE databases, and also to the standards established by authoritative international societies.

Keywords

Ultrasound Quality assurance Test objects Ultrasound phantoms 

Sommario

Immagini ecografiche diagnostiche e di buona qualità possono essere ottenute da un attento controllo, in condizioni di lavoro ottimali, combinato con le capacità dell’operatore di modificare le caratteristiche dell’apparecchiatura ecografica. Il controllo di qualità (QA) è l’argomento di questo articolo di revisione, ed è indirizzato alla pratica ecografica quotidiana che ha origine nella corretta selezione dell’apparecchiatura al momento dell’acquisto, passando per la cura e la manutenzione preventiva della macchina in modo da garantire sempre prestazioni accurate con standard elevati. Per il funzionamento ottimale del sistema eccografico,controlli periodici e programmati sono necessari in qualsiasi studio o dipartimento ospedaliero. È fondamentale infatti, confermare, su base semestrale o annuale, che la qualità dell’immagine sia mantenuta secondo gli standard e che qualsiasi cambiamento sottile nel funzionamento delle apparecchiature sia rilevato e modificato nella fase iniziale possibile. Talvolta può essere richiesto l’uso di oggetti (chiamati fantocci) qualora sia necessario un livello superiore di controllo. Lo scopo di questo articolo di revisione è informare l’utente della necessaria conoscenza del controllo di qualità e, allo stesso tempo, presentare lo stato dell’arte i metodi di prova più adatti per il controllo della qualità delle apparecchiature ecografiche. Abbiamo fatto riferimento a pubblicazioni pertinenti, selezionate dopo aver effettuato una ricerca sistematica della letteratura sui database MEDLINE, EMBASE e COCHRANE e anche sugli standard stabiliti da autorevoli società internazionali.

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare that have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was not necessary for this type of study.

Research involving human and animal rights

This paper does not contain any studies with human participants and/or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Società Italiana di Ultrasonologia in Medicina e Biologia (SIUMB) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Grazhdani
    • 1
  • E. David
    • 2
  • O. Ventura Spagnolo
    • 2
  • F. Buemi
    • 2
  • A. Perri
    • 3
  • N. Orsogna
    • 4
  • S. Gigli
    • 4
  • R. Chimenz
    • 5
  1. 1.Associazione dei Cavalieri Italiani Sovrano Ordine Militare di MaltaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Radiology UnitPapardo HospitalContrada Papardo, MessinaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Biopathology and Medical Biotechnologies, Service of Radiological SciencesUniversity of PalermoPalermoItaly
  4. 4.Department of Radiology, Oncology and Anatomo-PathologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  5. 5.Department of Pediatrics, Nephrology UnitUniversity School of MedicineMessinaItaly

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