Digital chest radiography: an update on modern technology, dose containment and control of image quality

Eur Radiol. 2008 Sep;18(9):1818-30. doi: 10.1007/s00330-008-0948-3. Epub 2008 Apr 23.


The introduction of digital radiography not only has revolutionized communication between radiologists and clinicians, but also has improved image quality and allowed for further reduction of patient exposure. However, digital radiography also poses risks, such as unnoticed increases in patient dose and suboptimum image processing that may lead to suppression of diagnostic information. Advanced processing techniques, such as temporal subtraction, dual-energy subtraction and computer-aided detection (CAD) will play an increasing role in the future and are all targeted to decrease the influence of distracting anatomic background structures and to ease the detection of focal and subtle lesions. This review summarizes the most recent technical developments with regard to new detector techniques, options for dose reduction and optimized image processing. It explains the meaning of the exposure indicator or the dose reference level as tools for the radiologist to control the dose. It also provides an overview over the multitude of studies conducted in recent years to evaluate the options of these new developments to realize the principle of ALARA. The focus of the review is hereby on adult applications, the relationship between dose and image quality and the differences between the various detector systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / trends*
  • Body Burden*
  • Radiation Protection / methods*
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / trends*
  • Radiography, Thoracic / trends*
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical