PACS Fundamentals - Distant Production House University

PACS Fundamentals - Distant Production House University
PACS Fundamentals
By: Eng. Valentino T. Mvanga
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare
Tanzania
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Learning Goals
• To Understand the importance of PACS
• To Understand PACS infrastructure
requirement
• Introduction to other clinical information
system
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Objectives
• Introduction to picture archiving and communication systems
(PACS).
• Compare and contrast the various types of PACS display
workstations.
• Differentiate between the different types of digital imaging
workflow.
• Define system architecture and recognize the three major
models.
• Summarize the common functions found on a PACS
workstation.
• Describe the situations and users that might use advanced
PACS workstation functions.
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Key Terms
• Archive
• Client/server-based
system
• DICOM
• Display workstation
• Distributed system
• File room workstation
• Hanging protocol
• Navigation functions
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
PACS
QC station
Reading station
Review station
Soft copy
System architecture
Teleradiology
Web-based system
Workflow
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Introduction
• PACS
–
–
–
–
Picture
Archiving
Communication
Systems
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Fundamentals
• PACS consists of the following:
–
–
–
–
Digital acquisition (Picture)
Display workstations
Storage devices (Archiving)
Components are interconnected through an intricate network.
(Communication)
• PACS is the electronic version of the radiologist’s reading room and
the file room.
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Typical PACS Design
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Fundamentals
• First PACS
•
•
•
•
Early 1980s
Served one single modality
Large research institutions
Most developed by scientists in those institutions
• Later
• Vendors became more involved.
• Proprietary systems were developed.
• Standardization
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DICOM
• First version was completed in
1985.
• DICOM
– Digital imaging and
communications in medicine.
• Universally accepted standard
• Laid the groundwork for the future
development of integrated PACSs.
• Now every modality and PACS
communicates via DICOM.
• Each vendor and modality boasts
DICOM compatibility.
• Each DICOM statement must be
read carefully to determine the
extent of the compatibility.
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Components
• PACS can be broken into three fundamental parts:
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Image Acquisition
• Images are acquired in a digital format:
– Ultrasound
• Early ultrasound mini-PACS networks became a norm in
many hospitals
– Computed Tomography (CT)
• As the images sets increased in number, this
necessitated the transition to soft-copy reading
– Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
• As with CT as the numbers of images increased, reading
on a monitor became a good alternative.
– Nuclear medicine
– Computed radiography
– Mammography
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Display Workstations
• Display workstation is any computer used to view a digital
image.
– Most interactive part of a PACS.
– Used inside and outside of the radiology department.
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Display Workstations
• Display station.
– Receives images from archive or various radiology modalities
– Presents images to be viewed
• Workstation has some sort of PACS application software.
• Some may have advanced software with additional image
processing capabilities.
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Archive Servers
• File room of the PACS
• Consists of the following:
– Database server or image
manager
– Short-term and long-term storage
– Workflow manager
• Central part of the PACS
• Houses all of the historic and
current data
• May also serve as the centralized
node that receives all images
before interpretation
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Workflow
• Workflow
– How a process is done step by step or how a task is completed
– How one completes an exam from order entry to transcribed
report
• Exact workflow different in every radiology department
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Generic Workflow
• Digital is similar but still different from film-based system.
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System Architecture
• American National Standards Institute and the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
– Definition of system architecture:
• Basic organization of a system come to life in its
components, their associations to each other and the
environment, and the principles leading its design and
development
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System Architecture
• In other words,
– System architecture is the hardware and software infrastructure of the
systems workflow.
– In PACS the system architecture normally consists of the following:
• Acquisition devices
• Storage and display workstations
• Image management system
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PACS Architecture
• Three common PACS architectures
– Client/server-based
– Distributed systems
– Web-based systems
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Client/Server-Based Systems
• Images are sent to archive server
• Display workstation functions as a
client of the archive server
– Accesses images based on a
centralized worklist.
– Person at the client chooses a
name from the list.
– Archive server sends the image
data to the client.
– The image data is only on the
client while viewing.
– Most systems allow basic image
manipulation at the client.
– Changes are saved on the archive
server.
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Client/Server-Based Systems
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Client/Server-Based Systems
• Advantages:
– Any exam sent to the PACS is available anywhere
without other interventions.
– Only one person can open the study with the
intent to read it. Others that open the study
receive a message that the study is open and
being read.
– There is no need to pull or send historic images to
a particular workstation because the old studies
are available with the new on the archive.
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Client/Server-Based Systems
• Disadvantages:
– The archive server is seen as a single point of
failure.
• If the archive goes down, the entire system is down and
no image movement can take place.
• Newly acquired images must remain at the modality
until the archive is up and can receive the images.
– System is network dependent.
• Images are flying back and forth between the archive
and the workstations.
• Network can become bogged down.
– Archive server is handling many requests at once
and can become bottlenecked.
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Distributed Systems
• Distributed systems are also known as distributed or
stand-alone models.
• Acquisition modalities send the images to a designated
reading station and possibly to review stations.
• In some systems the images are sent from the modality to
the archive server, and the archive server distributes the
images to the designated workstation.
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Distributed Systems
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Distributed Systems
• Reading station designations may be designed on radiologist’s
reading preferences.
• Example:
– MRI may send to one station
– CT sends to another
– Or all cross-sectional neurologic images may be sent to one station,
whereas all body imaging may be sent to another
• Designation is decided after extensive workflow observations.
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Distributed Systems
• Workstations can query and retrieve images from the archive.
• All images are locally stored.
• Images are then sent to the archive server once the images
have been read.
• Images remain on local hard drive of workstation until they
are deleted by user or system rules.
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Distributed Systems
• Advantages:
– If the archive server goes down, local reading at
the workstations is not interrupted.
• After archive comes back up, the images that have been
changed and signed off are automatically forwarded to
the archive to be saved.
– PACS data is less likely to be lost because of
multiple copies in various locations.
– System is less dependent on network for speed.
• User can work on one exam while workstation is pulling
next exam to be read.
• Workstation can fetch historic images based on rules set
up by the user.
• Fetching can be done while other exams are being read.
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Distributed Systems
• Disadvantages:
– Personnel rely heavily on system to perform image distribution
correctly.
• If distribution is wrong, then prefetching of historic exams will be wrong.
– Each workstation has a different worklist; only one person at a time
can work on that list.
– It can be inconvenient to read additional studies.
• Radiologist would have to move to another workstation to read the
images.
– Users must depend on query and retrieve function when
nonscheduled exams arrive at workstation.
– It is possible for two radiologists to be reading the same exam and not
know it until they try to start dictation.
• Paper requisition becomes an important piece of information.
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Web-Based Systems
• Web-based systems are similar to a client/server systems.
• Biggest differences are that images and application
software are held centrally and loads to the client display.
• Only images are held at the archive.
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Web-Based Systems
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Web-Based Systems
• Advantages:
– Hardware at the client can be anything that will support an
appropriate web browser.
• This condition allows for greater flexibility with hardware.
• This can be a disadvantage because low-end PCs can be used and the
image displays (monitors) may not be of diagnostic quality.
– The same application can be used on-site and at home in teleradiology
situations.
• Teleradiology is the reading of images from outside the hospital walls.
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Web-Based Systems
• Disadvantages:
– System functionality may be limited because of software not being
locally installed.
• Bandwidth of the network connection limits the amount of data that can
be transmitted.
• Some programs are large and cannot be transmitted via a network.
– Network is the biggest obstacle to performance.
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Display Workstations
• Most interactive part of PACS
• Hands-on component
• Consists of the following:
• Monitor
• Computer with a mouse and keyboard
• Different hardware requirements for each system
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Display Workstations
• Conventional film/screen radiography
uses large multiviewer lightboxes.
• With early PACS, radiologists thought
that they needed four to six monitors.
• Now, as radiologists have become
more comfortable, the number of
monitors has dropped to an average of
two.
• Drop can be attributed to continued
development of viewing software and
better hardware.
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Display Workstations
• Monitor
• One of the most important elements
• Several types of monitors
• Cathode ray tube (CRT)
• Liquid crystal display (LCD)
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Display Workstations
• Monitor, continued
– CRT
•
•
•
•
Heavy
Puts off a lot of heat
Very bright (good thing)
Can view from most any angle
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Display Workstations
• Monitor, continued
– LCD
• Dropped in price and has risen in quality.
• LCD will soon take over PACS display market because of its size, resolution,
and lack of heat production.
• LCD requires less maintenance.
• LCD gives more light.
• LCD can be used in areas with a high amount of ambient light.
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Display Workstations
• Resolution and orientation of the
monitor is a factor in determining
which type of monitor is to be
used.
– Most cross-sectional imaging is read
on a 1K square monitor.
– Most computed radiography (CR)
and digital radiography (DR) images
are read on at least a 2K portrait
monitor.
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Display Workstations
• Number of pixels contained on a display is known as its
resolution.
– More pixels: The higher the resolution, the more information that can
be displayed.
– Resolution also is defined as the process or capability of distinguishing
between individual parts of an image that are adjacent.
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Display Workstations
• Pixels are arranged in a matrix.
• Common screen resolutions found on today’s monitors are
the following:
•
•
•
•
1280 × 1024 (1K)
1600 × 1200 (2K)
2048 × 1536 (3K)
2048 × 2560 (5K)
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Display Workstations
• Medical displays are generally higher quality than displays for
other applications.
• Radiologists use highest-resolution monitors available for the
modality that is being read:
– Mammography requires a 5K or 5-megapixel resolution.
– Cross-sectional image only requires a 1K monitor.
– If referring physician is not the primary doctor reading the exams, a 1K
monitor would be sufficient.
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Display Workstations
• Workstations can be categorized by use:
– Primary reading stations for radiologists
– Review stations for referring physicians
– Technologist quality control (QC) station for technologist review of
images
– Image management station for the file room personnel
• Each has a specific, main purpose.
• Workstations are placed in strategic areas near the enduser of that particular need.
• Workstations may be made up of different hardware
depending on demand and need of user and requirements
of the software that will be used.
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Radiologist Reading Stations
• Station is used by a radiologist to
make a primary diagnosis.
• Station will have the highestquality hardware, including best
monitor.
• Computer hardware used
depends on the needs of the
PACS vendor but usually is robust,
with little downtime.
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Radiologist Reading Stations
• Keyboard and mouse can be customized to needs of
department.
• Many different styles of mice are available.
• Access to the RIS is nearby.
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Radiologist Reading Stations
• Dictation system is near or is connected to PACS station.
• Many systems are integrating the RIS and dictation system
within the PACS software.
• Grouping allows a more seamless workflow with little to no
paper.
• Station streamlines the completion of the study.
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Physician Review Stations
• Station is a step-down model of the
radiologist’s reading station.
• Station may have the same level of
software but may reduce some
advanced functions.
• One of the most important features
is ability to view current and
previous reports with images.
• Many vendors are integrating the RIS
functions with PACS software.
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Physician Review Stations
• Most referring physicians want to read radiologist’s report
along with viewing images.
• Many times, report is more important to them than the
images.
• Software may be loaded on a stand-alone station that is
dedicated to viewing images.
• Or, software may be delivered over a web browser on any
personal computer within an office or floor.
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Physician Review Stations
• In high-volume areas such as the emergency
room and intensive care unit, there are
dedicated PACS workstations strictly for
image viewing.
– These may have the higher-end monitors, but
many may have a lower-end monitor because
of the costs.
• One of the greatest advantages of a PACS is
the ability to view the same set of images in
multiple locations at one time.
– Referring physician can pull up the patient’s
images in the office and read the radiologist’s
report and then call the radiologist on the
phone and consult while both parties are
viewing the same set of images.
– Continuity and speed of patient care has
shown improvement with the use of PACS.
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Technologist QC Stations
• Used to review images after
acquisition but before sending them
to the radiologist
– May be used to improve or adjust
image-quality characteristics
– May be used to verify patient
demographic information
– Placed between the CR and DR
acquisition modalities as a pass-through
to ensure that the images have met the
departmental quality standard
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Technologist QC Station
• Generally has a 1K monitor.
• Does not have the resolution capabilities of the radiologist’s reading
station.
• Care required of technologist when manipulating images not to
change the appearance too much from original acquired image.
• Technologist should consult frequently with the radiologist to ensure
quality.
• Station can also be used to query and retrieve historic images to
check previous pathologic conditions or body characteristics.
• Station can help with the selection of technical factors or procedural
protocol.
• QC station can afford same benefit as pulling the film jacket.
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The File Room Workstation
• Before PACS, file room was a large open room
with endless rows of shelves full of film
jackets.
• Today, it may be as simple as several
computers and a dry laser to make copies for
outside needs.
• Workstation may be used to look up exams
for a physician or to print copies of images for
the patient to take to an outside physician.
– Many hospitals are moving away from printing
films because of the cost.
– Hospitals are moving toward burning compact
disks (CDs) with the patient’s images.
– CDs can be made quickly and at a reduced
cost compared with film.
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Common Functions
•
•
•
•
Navigation functions
Image manipulation and enhancement functions
Image management functions
Advanced workstation functions
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Navigation Functions
• Used to move through images, series, studies, and
patients
• Worklist used to navigate through patient files
– Customizable for the user
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Navigation Functions
• Modern PACS software conforms to the windows look and
feel:
– Use of grab bars on the right hand side of windows to scroll through a
list
– Activation of the scroll wheel on the mouse to scroll through the list
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Navigation Functions
• Mouse is a useful navigation tool.
• Right mouse button offers many shortcut features in a menu
of frequently used tasks and applications.
• Hanging protocols are available:
– Each user has the ability to set up a custom hanging protocol.
– Protocol is defined as how a set of images will be displayed on the
monitor.
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Navigation Functions
• Hanging protocols
– Example:
• CT exam is selected.
• Can be viewed four images on each monitor.
• CR image is selected.
• Can be viewed as one image on each monitor.
– Protocol can also be specified to show the previous exam on one
monitor and the current exam on the other.
– Once set, the most efficient study navigation is determined.
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Study Navigation
• A study in PACS is the current or previous exam being viewed.
– Study may consist of two or three single images such as the case with
CR and DR.
– Study may contain several series of images such as the case with MRI.
– Images can be simply paged through with the scroll wheel or arrows
on the keyboard.
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Study Navigation
• Images can be run through in stacks.
– Stack mode of scrolling through images made is called “cine.”
• Cine means to move through frame by frame of the series of images.
– Study may have an automatic setting that will run through the images
at a preset pace.
– Cine function is used most often in cross-sectional imaging.
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Study Navigation
• Icon may be available for the following:
– To move between a patient’s various studies
– To open the next unread patient file in the worklist
– To close patient or study icon
• Closes the active patient or study
• Pulls up the worklist or moves to the next unread patient
• Customizable rules can be set up per user to optimize
workflow.
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Image Manipulation and Enhancement Functions
• Tools
– Window/level
• May be a default function of the left mouse button.
– By depressing and holding down the mouse button and moving the
mouse up and down and left and right, the window and level can be
adjusted.
• Window represents the range of gray values.
• Level represents the center value of the range.
• A change in the window and level appears to change the brightness
and contrast of the image.
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Image Manipulation and Enhancement Functions
• Tools, continued
– Annotations
• Annotations are NOT to be used to label left or right to indicate the
patient’s side.
• Annotations are used to indicate prone or supine, 30 minutes, upright or
flat.
• Any other image information is appropriate.
• Radiologist will place arrows or circles around pathologic or questionable
areas.
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Image Manipulation and Enhancement Functions
• Tools, continued
– Flip and rotate
• Tool is used to orient the image in the correct anatomic hanging
position.
• Tool is usually a left-to-right flip and a 90-degree clockwise and
counterclockwise icon.
• Use of lead markers is important to ensure that the radiologist is
reading the correct side.
• Digital R and L may not be upheld in court during a legal case
because of the ability to mark anywhere on the image and flip and
rotate the image into any layout on the screen.
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Image Manipulation and Enhancement Functions
• Tools, continued
– Pan, zoom, and magnify
• Tools are used primarily by the radiologist
to increase the size of an area on the
image.
• Magnify usually magnifies a square area of
the image.
– Square can be moved around the image to
quickly see various areas magnified.
• Pan and zoom functions are usually used
together.
– Image is first zoomed up to the desired
magnification level.
– Pan icon is activated.
– Zoomed image can be moved around to
view the different areas of the image.
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Image Manipulation and Enhancement Functions
• Tools, continued
– Measurements
• Various measurement functions are
found on a PACS station.
• Most common is the distance
measurement.
• Size of a pixel is a known
measurement, so the software has the
ability to measure structures on the
image based on this.
– Another common measurement is an
angle measurement.
• Can give an angle measurement
between two structures
• Commonly used when reading spine
studies
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Image Manipulation and Enhancement Functions
• Tools, continued
– Measurements
• Region of interest
• Measurement tool determines the pixel intensity of a certain area.
• Each type of tissue or fluid has a different intensity of reading.
• Radiologist can make a determination whether something is solid or fluid.
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Image Management Functions
• Patient demographics
– Patient demographics must be correct.
• If demographics are not correct at the archive level, the images could be lost.
– Changes should only be made when the information is absolutely known
to be wrong.
– Many hospitals allow only certain persons the access to change
demographics just to keep the errors to a minimum.
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Image Management Functions
• Query/retrieve icon
• Used to retrieve on demand any
studies from the archive
• Allows user to query a study on
multiple fields
•
•
•
•
Patient’s name or identification
Date of service
Modality
Diagnosis code or comment
field
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Image Management Functions
• CD burning option
– Feature may only be available in the file room to control the CDs that
are sent out.
– HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
compliance must also be maintained.
• Copy and paste
– Function is used with the web-based systems when creating
presentations for conferences.
– Patient information must be removed from the image before it is
placed into a presentation.
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Image Management Functions
• Print films
– Printing is usually only done in the file room so that control can be
maintained over the printed films for HIPAA purposes and cost
reasons.
– Workstations may be connected to paper printers for quick consults
and for medical records.
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Advanced Workstation Functions
• Advanced functions are usually placed on specialty
workstations for the radiologist, and some are found on the
technologist QC station to further enhance the images. The
following is a bulleted list of some of the most common
advanced functions:
– Multiplanar reconstruction (MPR)
– Maximum intensity projection and minimum intensity projection (MIP
and MinIP)
– Volume rendering technique
– Shaded surface display
– Stitching
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Reading Station Advanced Functions
– Multiplanar reconstruction (MPR)
• MPR is one of the most commonly
used three-dimensional rendering
techniques.
• When doing a CT scan of a patient,
thin axial slices can be acquired of a
volume of tissue.
• Slices can then be loaded into the
MPR software, and a reconstruction
in another plane can be produced.
• Most common application is
producing coronal images from the
axial set to reduce radiation to the
patient and scan time at the
modality.
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Reading Station Advanced Functions
– Maximum intensity projection
and minimum intensity
projection (MIP and MinIP)
• Function is used to visualize
vessels (MIP) and air-filled
structures (MinIP).
• Function is commonly
performed after injection of
contrast medium on CT and
MRI studies.
• Contrast medium shows
areas of strictures and
blockages within the vessels.
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Reading Station Advanced Functions
– Volume rendering
technique
• Function is similar to MIP.
• Function allows user to
assign colors based on
the intensity of the
tissue.
• Bone, contrast medium,
and organs can be
visualized using various
colors.
• Function uses a
histogram-type graph to
differentiate the various
structures.
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Reading Station Advanced Functions
– Shaded surface display
• Using a threshold of
pixel intensity values,
everything below the
threshold is removed
and everything above
is assigned a color and
is shown as a threedimensional object.
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Technologist QC Station
Advanced Functions
– Stitching
• Stitching is used when multiple images
need to be put together in one image.
– Most common application is for full-spine
radiographs or a scoliosis series.
» Exam was traditionally performed on a 3foot film and was processed.
– CR manufacturers have developed a 3foot CR cassette that contains multiple
image plates (IPs).
» Each of the IPs is scanned through the
reader, and the individual images are
sent to the QC workstation.
» Software interpolates images and
connects them using known markers
from the IPs.
» Technologist has the ability to adjust the
connection of the images.
– Long leg images are used for leg-length
discrepancy.
– If the special 3-foot cassettes are not
available, a radiopaque ruler can be used
to ensure that the images are stitched at
the right area.
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Image Postprocessing
• Many other advanced workstation
functions are available to be added to the
PACS workstation. This is a growing field
with advancements coming each year.
Specific information about how to perform
these procedures can be found in the
vendor’s user manual.
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PACS integration to CDIS
• CDIS(Clinical Devices Information System)
• Medical image/data other than PACS
ECG, Patient monitor, Ventilator, defibrillator,
Ophthalmology, Function test, Clinical
pathology
• HL7, XML, RS232C and DICOM are the
communication formats in use.
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Summary
• A PACS consists of digital acquisition, display workstations,
and storage devices interconnected through an intricate
network.
• Digital imaging and communications in medicine (DICOM)
is a universally accepted standard for exchanging medical
images between the modality, viewing stations, and the
archive.
• A display workstation is any computer that a health care
worker uses to view a digital image, and it is the most
interactive part of a PACS.
• The archive is the central part of the PACS and houses all
of the historic data along with the current data being
generated.
• Workflow is how a process is done step by step or how a
task is completed.
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Summary
• System architecture is the basic organization
of a system, come to life in its components,
their associations to each other and the
environment, and the principles leading its
design and development, or in other words,
system architecture can be defined as the
hardware and software infrastructure of the
systems workflow.
• Common system architectures found with a
PACS are client/server-based systems,
distributed or stand-alone systems, and webbased systems.
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Summary
• Display stations can be categorized by their means of use,
such as primary reading stations for radiologists, review
stations for referring physicians, technologist QC stations
for technologist review of images, and image management
stations for the file room personnel.
• Many functions are available on a PACS workstation, and
each set of functions can be broken down into four
categories: navigation functions, image manipulation and
enhancement functions, image management functions,
and advanced workstation functions.
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Thanking you for your attention
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