Publication Abstract

Authors: Rosenberg RD, Kelsey CA, Williamson MR, Houston JD, Hunt WC

Title: Computer-based collection of mammographic exposure data for quality assurance and dosimetry.

Journal: Med Phys 28(8):1546-51

Date: 2001 Aug

Abstract: PURPOSE: There is potentially more to quality assurance in mammography than the MQSA mandated tests. In this paper we describe a method of capturing individual mammogram technical parameters and the creation of new measures. These include the numbers of images required for each screening examination by technologist, median compression by technologist, and the radiation dose of the examination to the general population of patients. METHOD/MATERIALS: With this method we describe a semiautomated method of the collection of technical data from mammography exposures. The data that are automatically created by the mammography unit are saved on a computer for later analysis. The method was used on 2738 consecutive screening mammography examinations and 13 621 exposures from one machine. Data were obtained from November 1998 through December 1999. RESULTS: Using standard methods, the mean glandular dose (MGD) per exposure was 2.62 mGy (SD 1.2). The mean dose per bilateral screening examination was 6.53 mGy (SD 3.07), the median dose was 6.11 mGy, and the dose range was 1.13-34.23 mGy. Rhodium filtration was used for 18% of the exposures. The average and median breast thickness was 4.9 cm. The ACR phantom MGD for this machine was 2.44 mGy at 25 kVp, and 1.97 mGy at 26 kVp. The mean number of exposures for a bilateral mammogram was 4.9, and varied by a technologist from 4.7 to 5.2. The mean compression pressure varied by technologist from 13 to 30 lbs (58-134 N). CONCLUSIONS: The mean dose per mammogram is slightly greater than the ACR phantom dose at 25 kVp. Almost five exposures were necessary for a standard bilateral examination, and this varied by technologist. The compression used also varied by technologist. The semiautomated collection of technical data can aid in maintaining an effective mammography QA program.