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Type of publication: Diploma Thesis
Type of document:

Year: 2011

Authors: Seilern-Moy, Katharina

Title: X-ray in the field - is the PORT-X II X-ray unit a solution?.

Other title: X-ray in the field - Is the PORT-X II X-ray unit a solution

Source: Diplomarbeit, Vet. Med. Univ. Wien, pp. 35.


Walzer Christian

Kneissl Sibylle

Vetmed Research Units:
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology

Graduation date: 14.04.11

In zoo and wildlife medicine and research, X-rays are not used frequently for diagnostics, mostly due to the lack of electrical power in the field and the weight of common X-ray units. A battery powered, small, and lightweight X-ray unit could be a great advantage for wildlife research or zoo and wildlife medicine. In this study the portable, battery operated X-ray unit PORT-X II, originally developed for dentistry, was tested for its limiting factors when used in the field for research and for diagnostics in zoo and wildlife medicine. In September 2010, radiographs of different kinds of animals, ranging in weight from 14 g to approximated 1000 kg, were taken using different settings including mainly the source image distance (SID) and the exposure time. Subsequently the image quality was evaluated regarding resolution of detail, image noise, and motion blur. X-rays taken freehand were compared to X-rays taken when the unit was stabilized on a tripod. The capacity of the rechargeable battery was tested under practical conditions at room temperature as well as at lower temperatures in a refrigerated room. Furthermore the maximum size of the radiographic image obtainable and the multiple use of a single digital Xray cassette were tested. When using a SID of 60 cm, radiographs showed adequate image quality down to the shortest exposure time of 0.01 seconds. A reduction of image quality was found in images of larger animals which was prominent in the abdominal radiographs of an un-anesthetized 50 kg red deer calf. All images could be processed digitally and therefore most of them were of diagnostic use. Since no difference in image quality was observed whether using a tripod or not, the use of the tripod was abandoned. Under practical conditions the battery was depleted after 1 hour and 40 minutes of total running time or 36 radiographs taken. At lower temperatures the battery depleted faster. The maximum size of the radiographic image worth aiming for in the field appeared to have a diameter of 40 cm. Multiple use of one single X-ray cassette is possible when covering the unused areas with some kind of lead cover. The results of this study indicate that the PORT-X II X-ray unit is an easy to use, lightweight and convenient X-ray device which mostly provides radiographs of adequate quality. It is therefore seen as a good compromise between transportability and radiograph quality suitable for wildlife research or zoo and wildlife medicine under field conditions. However, the PORT-X II cannot replace the standard X-ray systems used in veterinary clinics with respect to the low output and consequently to the quality assurance in larger animals, thicker body parts, or the details in abdominal areas.

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