Automated quality control of ultrasound based on in-air reverberation patterns

Pepijn van Horssen*, Arnold Schilham, Dennis Dickerscheid, Niels van der Werf, Han Keijzers, Ronald van Almere, Joost Kuijer, Rob Peters, Mark Hofman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Ultrasound image degradation originates primarily from transducer defects and potentially undermines reliable image interpretation. Systematic quantitative quality control is often neglected due to the limited resources available for this task. We propose a quantitative quality control based on in-air reverberation images. These images serve as an initial indication of image degradation. They are easily generated for any (curvi-)linear transducer independent of the level of expertise of the operator. Automated analysis is presented to extract quality parameters based on the in-air reverberation pattern. Static images acquired by the clinical user are transferred to a server where analysis is performed. The results are available to the sonographer prior to clinical use and transducer status can be remotely monitored with trend analysis over time. The method was evaluated for normal functioning and defect transducers. A pilot study was performed over a period of three weeks to assess reproducibility and practical feasibility. All reverberation images were successfully analysed for different transducer types and vendor-specific image presentation. The proposed quality parameters are sensitive to signal loss and allow differentiation of type and severity of image degradation. The pilot study was well received by the sonographers for the simplicity of the method and the measurements were consistent over time. The proposed automated analysis method of ultrasound quality control can monitor (curvi-)linear transducer status in the entire hospital, overcoming previous limitations for periodic quality control. Implementation of the method can reduce the number of defective transducers routinely used in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-238
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasound
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

Cite this

van Horssen, P., Schilham, A., Dickerscheid, D., van der Werf, N., Keijzers, H., van Almere, R., ... Hofman, M. (2017). Automated quality control of ultrasound based on in-air reverberation patterns. Ultrasound, 25(4), 229-238. https://doi.org/10.1177/1742271X17733145