Indexed on: 21 Jun '11Published on: 21 Jun '11Published in: Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
Ultrasound (US) quality control (QC) program data over a 4-year period from more than 45 scanners and more than 265 transducers were reviewed to optimize the program in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Our program included evaluations of mechanical integrity, image uniformity, distance measurement accuracy and maximum depth of penetration (DOP). We computed failure rates and fraction of failures detected by each test. A total of 187 equipment problems were identified. Average annual scanner component and transducer failure rates were 10.5% and 13.9%, respectively. The mechanical integrity and uniformity evaluations detected 25.1% and 66.3% of all failures, respectively. Those evaluations plus defects detected by sonographers accounted for 98.4% of all detected failures. DOP and distance measurement accuracy were not effective at detecting equipment failures. For routine US QC, we recommend quarterly mechanical integrity and uniformity assessments of all transducers. A scanner with five transducers could be tested in an estimated 30 min or less.