Quality Control of Nuclear Medicine Instrumentation and Protocol Standardisation
Technologists are members of the team required for implementation of diagnostic imaging in nuclear medicine (NM). In many hospitals, the technologists are responsible for the quality assurance (QA) duties. The development of hybrid imaging has increased further the need for strict implementation of quality control (QC) and also rendered QC more demanding. These new guidelines from the EANM Technologist Committee address the tasks necessary for the smooth implementation of QC in NM departments.
Quality control is required to ensure that NM equipment is functioning properly and constitutes an important part of the quality management in an NM department. The described QC tests are designed to detect problems before they affect clinical patient studies. They are intended to provide a full evaluation of equipment performance and to ensure that equipment is performing properly after service or adjustment.
Quality control is important due to the need to optimise patient exposure and image quality during NM imaging examinations. The image quality is dependent upon the data acquisition parameters, which must be adapted to the detector system and also the reconstruction algorithm, on the basis of which the acquisition time can be shortened or the administered activity of the radiopharmaceuticals can be decreased.
These guidelines cover the principles of QC and QA, including QC and improvement of imaging protocols for both imaging and non-imaging instrumentation. The first part describes separately the QC tests for conventional NM modalities such as planar gamma camera imaging, SPECT and PET and also for hybrid methods such as SPECT/CT and PET/CT. An individual chapter is devoted to CT system QC as this constitutes an important element in the optimisation of acquisition protocols. The second part covers image optimisation protocols for SPECT/CT and PET/CT modalities and accreditation for clinical trials. The third part describes QC of non-imaging instrumentation, such as radionuclide dose calibrators, intraoperative probes, body uptake probes and well counters.
This overview of QC and protocol optimisation will be a valuable tool for technologists and all clinical staff involved in this particular field.
In the name of the EANM Technologist Committee, I would like to thank all the authors who have taken the time to prepare and write the chapters and to all the editors who have helped to create this book.