Computed tomography (CT) scanners are a vital piece of equipment in any medical imaging department. And after performing thousands of scans, it’s normal for scanners to experience some sort of issue. In the event that an issue does come up, typically an imaging engineer will be called in to diagnose and fix the problem as quickly as possible.
Common Ways That Your CT Scanner Can Fail and How to Avoid Them
To keep you better informed of the ins and outs of CT scanners, we’re going to talk about the most common problems you can expect when operating them, as well as what you can do to avoid them from ever happening. This way, you won’t have to worry about experiencing unnecessary downtime or ending up with an inferior scan.
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X-ray tube failure
When the X-ray tube fails or malfunctions, it can result in poor image quality or an inability to produce images at all. This usually occurs when there is an issue in the vacuum seal within the tube or damage to the tube itself. Other factors may also contribute to this issue, including age, wear and tear, and improper maintenance.
If an X-ray tube failure occurs, turn off the X-ray beam immediately to ensure the safety of the patient and the healthcare providers. The CT scan may need to be rescheduled or performed using a different type of medical imaging technology, depending on the severity of the failure and the unavailability of alternative equipment. The healthcare provider should work with the patient to determine the best course of action.
Calibration is very important to ensure that the machine is working properly and giving accurate results. To calibrate a CT scanner is to scan an object called a phantom, with known radiodensity, to check whether the measurements given show the correct number of Hounsfield Units (HUs).
This can be done manually or automatically, depending on what kind of calibration tool was included with your CT scanner purchase. If there isn’t any calibration tool included with your purchase, you will need to buy it separately.
Cloudy sensors and filters
Ambient temperature and humidity can affect the performance of your machine. This is especially important in humid environments, where water vapor can condense on the sensors and lenses of your device.
To avoid this problem, try to keep your machine at around 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius). And if you live in an especially dry climate, be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight.
Dust particles and other contaminants inside the air filter system can also be the culprit as to why your machine is malfunctioning. To prevent this, change out the CT scanner’s filters regularly (at least once every three months) and clean them regularly with compressed air, as well as soap-based cleaners (never use alcohol.)
Additionally, it’s recommended to use HEPA filters for any rooms adjacent to where you plan on doing scans. These will capture most dust particles before they go anywhere near the machine’s sensitive components.
Too much image noise
Multiple detector scanners are those that use two or more detectors to take x-ray images from different angles around the body. Each detector records only part of an image, which are all combined later on during processing. While these can produce better-quality results than single-detector scanners, they also tend to produce images with more noise.
When you experience this, try to increase the radiation dose to improve the contrast resolution of a CT scan. This will reduce the amount of noise in the image, resulting in a clearer and more detailed image.
However, it is also important to consider the balance between the radiation dose and the required contrast resolution when determining the settings for the examination. Increasing the radiation dose may come at a cost, and it is necessary to weigh this against the need for a high-quality image.
If a CT scanner were to experience a power surge, it damage your equipment. This is why it’s important to use surge protectors that are UL-tested and approved.
Furthermore, ensure that any electrical equipment in your radiology suite is plugged into an outlet with a properly installed ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). You can also buy specialty outlets that have built-in receptacles for plugs without cords to reduce tripping hazards and increase safety overall.
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We hope this guide has helped you understand the most common ways that CT scanners can fail. If you run into any trouble when using a CT scanner, contact an experienced technician immediately to prevent any further downtime.
Let us help you find the perfect solution for your mobile medical imaging needs. Call us today at (844) 949-1664 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help your practice.