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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 481. Virginia Radiation Protection Regulations

12VAC5-481-1641. Computed Tomography Equipment.

A. (Reserved.)

B. Requirements for equipment.

1. Termination of exposure.

a. Means shall be provided to terminate the x-ray exposure automatically by either de-energizing the x-ray source or shuttering the x-ray beam in the event of equipment failure affecting data collection. Such termination shall occur within an interval that limits the total scan time to no more than 110% of its preset value through the use of either a backup timer or devices that monitor equipment function.

b. A visible signal shall indicate when the x-ray exposure has been terminated through the means required by subdivision 1 a of this subsection.

c. The operator shall be able to terminate the x-ray exposure at any time during a scan, or series of scans under CT x-ray system control, of greater than one-half second duration.

2. Tomographic plane indication and alignment.

a. For any single tomogram system, means shall be provided to permit visual determination of the tomographic plane or a reference plane offset from the tomographic plane.

b. For any multiple tomogram system, means shall be provided to permit visual determination of the location of a reference plane. This reference plane can be offset from the location of the tomographic planes.

c. If a device using a light source is used to satisfy the requirements of subdivision 2 a or b of this subsection, the light source shall provide illumination levels sufficient to permit visual determination of the location of the tomographic plane or reference plane under ambient light conditions of up to 500 lux.

3. Beam-on and shutter status indicators and control switches.

a. The CT x-ray control and gantry shall provide visual indication whenever x-rays are produced and, if applicable, whether the shutter is open or closed.

b. Each emergency button or switch shall be clearly labeled as to its function.

4. Indication of CT conditions of operation. The CT x-ray system shall be designed such that the CT conditions of operation to be used during a scan or a scan sequence shall be indicated prior to the initiation of a scan or a scan sequence. On equipment having all or some of these conditions of operation at fixed values, this requirement may be met by permanent markings. Indication of CT conditions of operation shall be visible from any position from which scan initiation is possible.

5. Extraneous radiation. When data are not being collected for image production, the radiation adjacent to the tube port shall not exceed that permitted by subdivision 3 of 12VAC5-481-1601.

6. Maximum surface CTDI identification. The angular position where the maximum surface CTDI occurs shall be identified to allow for reproducible positioning of a CT dosimetry phantom.

7. Additional requirements applicable to CT x-ray systems containing a gantry manufactured after September 3, 1985.

a. The total error in the indicated location of the tomographic plane or reference plane shall not exceed five mm.

b. If the x-ray production period is less than one-half second, the indication of x-ray production shall be actuated for at least one-half second. Indicators at or near the gantry shall be discernible from any point external to the patient opening where insertion of any part of the human body into the primary beam is possible.

c. The deviation of indicated scan increment versus actual increment shall not exceed one millimeter with any mass from 0 to 100 kg resting on the support device. The patient support device shall be incremented from a typical starting position to the maximum incremented distance or 30 cm, whichever is less, and then returned to the starting position. Measurement of actual versus indicated scan increment may be taken anywhere along this travel.

d. Premature termination of the x-ray exposure by the operator shall necessitate resetting of the CT conditions of operation prior to the initiation of another scan.

C. Facility design requirements.

1. Aural communication. Provision shall be made for two-way aural communication between the patient and the operator at the control panel.

2. Viewing systems.

a. Windows, mirrors, closed-circuit television, or an equivalent shall be provided to permit continuous observation of the patient during irradiation and shall be so located that the operator can observe the patient from the control panel.

b. When the primary viewing system is by electronic means, an alternate viewing system (which may be electronic) shall be available for use in the event of failure of the primary viewing system.

D. Surveys, calibrations, spot checks, and operating procedures.

1. Surveys.

a. All CT x-ray systems installed after September 19, 2006, and those systems not previously surveyed shall have a survey made by, or under the direction of, a qualified medical physicist. In addition, such surveys shall be done after any change in the facility or equipment that might cause a significant increase in radiation hazard.

b. The registrant shall obtain a written report of the survey from the qualified medical physicist, and a copy of the report shall be made available to the agency upon request.

2. Radiation calibrations.

a. The calibration of the radiation output of the CT x-ray system shall be performed by, or under the direction of, a qualified medical physicist who is physically present at the facility during such calibration.

b. The calibration of a CT x-ray system shall be performed (i) after initial installation and before use on human patients, (ii) annually or at intervals specified by a qualified medical physicist, and (iii) after any change or replacement of components that in the opinion of the qualified medical physicist could cause a change in the radiation output.

c. The calibration of the radiation output of a CT x-ray system shall be performed with a calibrated dosimetry system. The calibration of such system shall be traceable to a national standard. The dosimetry system shall have been calibrated within the preceding two years.

d. CT dosimetry phantom shall be used in determining the radiation output of a CT x-ray system. Such phantom shall meet the following specifications and conditions of use:

(1) CT dosimetry phantom shall be right circular cylinders of polymethyl methacrylate of density 1.19 plus or minus 0.01 grams per cubic cm. The phantom shall be at least 14 cm in length and shall have diameters of 32.0 cm for testing CT x-ray systems designed to image any section of the body and 16.0 cm for systems designed to image the head or for whole body scanners operated in the head scanning mode;

(2) CT dosimetry phantom shall provide means for the placement of a dosimeter along the axis of rotation and along a line parallel to the axis of rotation 1.0 cm from the outer surface and within the phantom. Means for the placement of dosimeters or alignment devices at other locations may be provided;

(3) Any effects on the doses measured due to the removal of phantom material to accommodate dosimeters shall be accounted for through appropriate corrections to the reported data or included in the statement of maximum deviation for the values obtained using the phantom; and

(4) All dose measurements shall be performed with the CT dosimetry phantom placed on the patient couch or support device without additional attenuation materials present.

e. The calibration shall be required for each type of head, body, or whole-body scan performed at the facility.

f. Calibration shall meet the following requirements:

(1) The dose profile along the center axis of the CT dosimetry phantom for the minimum, maximum, and midrange values of the nominal tomographic section thickness used by the registrant shall be measurable. Where less than three nominal tomographic thicknesses can be selected, the dose profile determination shall be performed for each available nominal tomographic section thickness;

(2) The CTDI along the two axes specified in subdivision 2 d (2) of this subsection shall be measured. For the purpose of determining the CTDI, the manufacturer's statement as to the nominal tomographic section thickness for that particular system may be utilized. The CT dosimetry phantom shall be oriented so that the measurement point 1.0 cm from the outer surface and within the phantom is in the same angular position within the gantry as the point of maximum surface CTDI identified. The CT conditions of operation shall correspond to typical values used by the registrant; and

(3) The spot checks specified in subdivision 3 of this subsection shall be made.

g. Calibration procedures shall be in writing. Records of calibrations performed shall be maintained for inspection by the agency.

3. Spot checks.

a. The spot-check procedures shall be in writing and shall have been developed by a qualified medical physicist.

b. The spot-check procedures shall incorporate the use of a CT dosimetry phantom that has a capability of (i) providing an indication of contrast scale, noise, nominal tomographic section thickness, and the resolution capability of the system for low and high contrast objects; and (ii) measuring the mean CTN for water or other reference material.

c. All spot checks shall be included in the calibration required by subdivision 2 of this subsection and at time intervals and under system conditions specified by a qualified medical physicist.

d. Spot checks shall include acquisition of images obtained with the CT dosimetry phantom or phantoms using the same processing mode and CT conditions of operation as are used to perform calibrations required by subdivision 2 of this subsection.

e. The results of each spot check shall be maintained for two years.

4. Operating procedures.

a. The CT x-ray system shall not be operated except by an individual who has been specifically trained in its operation.

b. Information shall be available at the control panel regarding the operation and calibration of the system. Such information shall include the following:

(1) Dates of the latest calibration and spot checks and the location within the facility where the results of those tests may be obtained;

(2) Instructions on the use of the CT dosimetry phantoms including a schedule of spot checks appropriate for the system, allowable variations for the indicated parameters, and the results of at least the most recent spot checks conducted on the system;

(3) The distance in millimeters between the tomographic plane and the reference plane if a reference plane is utilized; and

(4) A current technique chart available at the control panel that specifies for each routine examination the CT conditions of operation and the number of scans per examination.

c. If the calibration or spot check of the CT x-ray system identifies that a system operating parameter has exceeded a tolerance established by the qualified medical physicist, use of the CT x-ray system on patients shall be limited to those uses permitted by established written instructions of the qualified medical physicist.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 31, Issue 24, eff. August 27, 2015.

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