Factors impacting the lifespan of a CT Scanner Tube
Blue Star E&E
30 December 2022
800,000 to 1,600,000 scan seconds or 4-7 years of performance at mid-range patient volume! That’s how long a good quality CT tube is going to last you.
The CT tube is essentially a doughnut-shaped tube that rotates the X-ray 360 degrees around a patient capturing a detailed 3D view of the inside of the body. The smaller the focal point the sharper the image. The CT tube is THE most expensive consumable and important component in the CT scanner.
The x-ray tube works by creating x-ray photons from the electric energy supplied by the x-ray generator. The type of tube determines the amount and quality of the images taken.
Scanning protocol requires multiple long exposures on numerous patients per day which can create stress on the tube. The better the quality of the CT scanner you buy and the better you treat it, the longer it’s going to last. Making a CT tube long-lasting depends on the frequency of use, types of exams, and patient population and the good news is that studies have shown there is no set limit.
Four things a CT tube lifespan depends on
- Total patient exams: This includes the number of cases performed but does not take into account the length or type of exam.
- Clicks and counts:This one shows how many exposures but does not take into consideration the energy used.
- Scan seconds: This measures the duration of the tube exposures but not the heat accumulation through the tube.
- mAS: This is a measure of the duration of exposures and power through the tube and is perhaps the most accurate metric.
Two ways to increase the lifespan of the CT Tube?
- The process of creating the x-ray beam is inefficient, with only 1% of the electric energy converted to x-ray photons and the remaining 99% converted to heat. Reducing the heat-related stress on the components of the CT tube can help extend its life and reduce operating costs.
- There needs to be a 30-40 second break after the rotor stops. Rotor operation varies from scanner to scanner but this is the general rule of thumb.
Four ways to tell if the CT tube needs replacement
- Is there tungsten deposited on the internal surface of the glass tube window? This will eventually make the tube go darker and degrade the X-ray beam quality
- Is there oil around the x-ray tube? This indicates issues with bearings, rotor, or a punctured tube.
- Are there cracks in the x-ray tube? This suggests the vacuum has been compromised.
- Is there arcing? This is caused by a temporary short circuit in the X-ray tube causing a loss of X-ray output. It could be due to high residual gas pressure or degradation of insulators.
Blue Star E&E has a range of CT scanners from Fujifilm, which offer excellent diagnostic imaging quality without compromising patient safety. Blue Star E&E has been providing CT systems for more than 30 years. Contact us today to know more.
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