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RDGY30590 Computed Tomography UCD Assignment Sample Ireland

RDGY30590 Computed Tomography is a unit offered in the Radiology department at the University College Dublin.  This unit is worth 5 ECTS credits and it is taught in English. The aim of this unit is to provide students with an introduction to computed tomography (CT) and how it can be used in the diagnosis of disease.

Computed tomography is a medical imaging technique that uses x-rays to create cross-sectional images of the body. CT scans can be used to diagnose a wide range of conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and brain disorders.

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In this unit, we are describing some activities. These are:

Assignment Activity 1: Explain the fundamental principles underpinning CT scanner technology.

Computed tomography (CT) scanners use computed tomography to create a three-dimensional image of the inside of an object from a series of two-dimensional X-ray images. The scanner contains an X-ray source that rotates around the object to be scanned.

X-rays are produced when electrons are stripped from atoms, and these X-rays pass through the object being scanned. Some of the X-rays are absorbed by the object, and some pass through and are detected by one or more detectors. The detectors create a matrix of data points, and this data is used to create a three-dimensional image of the object.

The fundamental principle underpinning CT scanner technology is that X-rays are absorbed in different rates by different materials. This difference in absorption rate is used to create the three-dimensional image. The image is created by reconstructing the data points collected by the detectors into a three-dimensional matrix.

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Assignment Activity 2: Explain the fundamental principles underpinning CT data reconstruction and image processing.

CT data reconstruction and image processing are based on several fundamental principles. First, X-rays interact with matter in a very specific way, producing what is known as an attenuation coefficient. This coefficient determines how much of an X-ray beam is absorbed by the material it passes through. Second, CT scanners measure the attenuation coefficients of various materials using detectors that are sensitive to X-rays. These detectors produce electrical signals that are used to reconstruct the CT images. Finally, computer algorithms are used to process the CT data and generate images that can be interpreted by radiologists.

The attenuation coefficient is a key parameter in CT image reconstruction. It is used to determine how much of an X-ray beam is absorbed by the material it passes through. The attenuation coefficient depends on the energy of the X-ray beam, the type of material, and the thickness of the material.

CT detectors are used to measure the attenuation coefficients of various materials. These detectors are typically made of silicon or germanium, and they are sensitive to X-rays in the energy range used for CT imaging. The electrical signals produced by the detectors are used to reconstruct the CT images.

Computer algorithms are used to process the CT data and generate images that can be interpreted by radiologists. These algorithms are used to threshold the data, filter the data, and perform other image processing tasks. The processed images are then displayed on a monitor for interpretation.

Assignment Activity 3: Justify the most appropriate CT examination or approach for a given clinical history/scenario based on clinical guidelines, evidence, or local protocols.

There are a variety of CT examinations and approaches that may be appropriate for a given clinical scenario. The most appropriate examination or approach will depend on the specific clinical circumstances and may be based on clinical guidelines, evidence, or local protocols. A history and physical examination should be performed to assess for any potential contraindications to CT. In general, CT is a well-tolerated imaging modality with a low risk of radiation exposure. When indicated, CT can provide critical information to guide patient management.

CT is indicated in a variety of clinical scenarios. Some indications for CT include evaluation of trauma, assessment of suspected abdominal or chest pain, evaluation of suspected appendicitis, and detection of pulmonary embolism.

Contraindications to CT include pregnant patients, patients with an allergy to iodine-containing contrast material, and patients with renal insufficiency.

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Assignment Activity 4: Discuss patient preparation and patient care (including radiation safety) for the CT examinations covered in the module & seen in clinical practice.

When preparing a patient for a CT examination, it is important to ensure that the patient understands the procedure and what will be done. It is also important to ensure that the patient is comfortable and relaxed. In most cases, no sedation or anesthesia is required. However, if a patient feels anxious or uncomfortable, sedation may be prescribed.

Prior to beginning the scan, it is important to ensure that the patient remains still. During the scan, it is necessary to remain perfectly still so that there is no motion blur in the images. If necessary, the technician may ask the patient to hold their breath for a brief period of time.

CT scans are safe when performed according to protocol. However, patients should always be aware of the potential risks involved with any imaging modality, including CT. The risks of CT include exposure to ionizing radiation, allergic reaction to contrast material, and renal failure.

When performing a CT scan, it is important to follow all safety protocols to minimize the risk of radiation exposure. Appropriate shielding should be used when performing the scan. The CT machine should be operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. The technologist should be properly trained and licensed to operate the CT machine.

Patients should always be aware of the potential risks and benefits of any imaging modality, including CT. They should discuss these risks and benefits with their physician prior to having the procedure.

Assignment Activity 5: Explain the various components of CT protocols covered in the module (including injection protocol and CT scan/reconstruction parameters).

A CT scan, or computed tomography scan, is a medical imaging procedure that uses X-rays to generate cross-sectional images of the body. The images are used to diagnose a variety of medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

A CT injection protocol typically includes an iodine-based contrast agent that helps improve the visibility of blood vessels and organs on the CT images. The contrast agent is injected into a vein in the arm and circulated through the body. It helps highlight areas of increased blood flow or abnormal tissue growth.

The parameters for a CT scan reconstruction depend on the type of scan being performed. Some common parameters include slice thickness, image resolution, and the number of slices per image. The CT technologist will select the appropriate parameters based on the clinical indication for the scan.

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Assignment Activity 6: Explain how the various components of CT protocols influence radiation dose, image quality, or outcomes.

It is well known that CT protocols vary widely in terms of the amount of radiation exposure they use. For example, a standard chest CT protocol may use 10 mAs while a cardiac CT protocol may use 70-100 mAs. There are several reasons why this range exists and below we will explore how these variables influence radiation dose.

  • Body size: The larger the patient, the more X-rays are needed to penetrate the body and image neighboring structures; thus, patients requiring obese-modified protocols receive higher doses of radiation7.  
  • Imaging goals: The objectives of the scan (e.g., high-resolution for small lesions or visualization of soft tissue) often dictate image acquisition parameters, resulting in different effective doses for similar exams8.
  • Protocol: The protocols used for each individual CT scanner are set by the facility according to the Image Gently or Image Wisely campaign, and these parameters influence the amount of radiation that a patient will be exposed to9.

There are also many factors that influence image quality in CT including10:

  • Body size: Larger patients may require more X-rays to penetrate the body and image neighboring structures.
  • Image resolution: The higher the resolution, the more detailed the image will be. However, high-resolution images require more X-rays and result in higher doses of radiation.
  • Slice thickness: The thinner the slice, the more detailed the image will be. However, thin slices require more X-rays and result in higher doses of radiation.

There are a number of factors that can influence CT outcomes, including11:

  • Radiation dose: The higher the dose of radiation, the greater the risk of developing cancer.
  • Contrast material: Allergic reactions to contrast material are possible and can be serious.
  • Scan time: The longer the scan, the greater the risk of developing cancer.
  • Anatomic location: Certain areas of the body are more sensitive to radiation than others. For example, the thyroid gland is very sensitive to radiation and can be damaged by even a small amount of exposure.

The technologist should be properly trained and licensed to perform CT scans. The technologist should also be familiar with the CT protocols and how they can influence radiation dose, image quality, and outcomes.

Assignment Activity 7: Demonstrate an ability to recognize, identify and describe basic anatomy and pathology on CT images identified in the module.

The images below show a CT scan of the brain with various pathologies identified.

The first image shows an encephalomalacia or damage to the brain tissue. This can be caused by a number of things, such as a stroke, head injury, or infection.

The second image shows a meningioma, which is a type of tumor that grows in the lining of the brain. Meningiomas can cause pressure on nearby tissues and organs, leading to symptoms like headaches, seizures, and vision problems.

The third image shows an abscess, which is an accumulation of pus that is caused by an infection. Abscesses can be dangerous because they can spread the infection to other parts of the body.

The fourth image shows a brain hemorrhage, which is bleeding in the brain. This can be caused by a head injury or an aneurysm rupture. Brain hemorrhages can be very dangerous and often require surgery to remove the blood clot.

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Assignment Activity 8: Work as part of the CT team & undertake basic CT tasks/duties as directed by the CT team.

The CT team is responsible for a number of tasks, including setting up the CT scanner, preparing the patient for the scan, and operating the CT scanner. The technologist should be properly trained and licensed to perform these tasks. The technologist should also be familiar with the CT protocols and how they can influence radiation dose, image quality, and outcomes.

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