Image quality of bedside chest radiographs in intensive care beds with integrated detector tray: A phantom study

S. Enevoldsen, M. W. Kusk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Introduction: Vendors offer intensive care beds with integrated detector trays for bedside radiography, promoting better ergonomics and patient comfort. However, no documentation of the effects on diagnostic image quality has been located. This study examines measured and subjective image quality of supine bedside chest radiographs with and without use of such a detector tray. Methods: A contrast-detail phantom (CDRAD 2.0) was exposed using standard supine chest exposure parameters. Plexiglass plates of 16 and 21 cm were placed in front to simulate patient attenuation for standard and adipose patients. Exposures were repeated with the detector placed in tray and directly in bed. Images were analysed using dedicated software giving a figure-of-merit IQFinv. Results were compared using ANOVA. Then an anthropomorphic chest phantom (Lungman) was exposed using the same parameters, and the same placements of the detector. Exposures were done with and without extra conformal tissue to simulate varying patient sizes, and with and without added typical intensive care equipment. Images were analysed by two radiologists using a three-point scale, on five image quality criteria. Radiologist also stated whether the images were sufficient for diagnosis. Results were compared using Visual Grading Characteristics, using dedicated software, resulting in Areas Under the Curve (AUC-VGC) for each combination and criteria. Inter- and intra-rater reliability were assessed with kappa statistics. Composite Visual Grading Analysis (VGAS) scores were calculated for each image. Both IQFinv and were normalized and compared. Results: For all criteria both IQFinv and AUC-VGC was significantly better when exposing the detector directly in bed, than with the detector placed in the tray across all exposures. When stratified into thin and adipose patients, IQFinv decreased significantly for thin patients, while VGAS-scores did not. For adipose patients, both figures were significantly lower with the detector in the tray. Conclusion: Use of detector tray for bedside chest imaging decreases image quality. Implications for practice: Radiographers should critically evaluate image quality and experimentally determine optimal exposure factors, when taking equipment with integrated trays into use.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)453-458
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Digital radiography
  • Image quality
  • Intensive care


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