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Keywords:

  • equine;
  • stifle joint;
  • digital luminescence radiography

Major advantages of computed radiography are the potential reduction of dose and the possibility of postprocessing. In our study, we compared conventional radiographs to digital radiographs of the equine stifle by subjective evaluation of diagnostic quality when using a decreasing photon flux (mAs). Twelve equine stifle joints from horses of different weight and size were examined. Conventional and digital radiographs were performed identically in a caudocranial projection with the tube angled 15 degrees. A series of four radiographs was performed in each technique with an increasing photon flux starting with 2.5 mAs and going up to 5, 10, and 20 mAs. All radiographs were evaluated subjectively in a blinded fashion by seven readers in terms of contrast, bone structure, and diagnostic value and were graded using a 1–5 scale. Results from conventional and digitized radiographs were compared, and differences between the individual observers were analyzed statistically. Contrast, bone structure, and diagnostic value from digital images were rated significantly better than from conventional images (p < .001). For both techniques, a decrease in ranking was found with a decrease of photon flux. There was only slight interobserver variability. A dose reduction up to a factor of 4 compared to a 100 speed film-screen system seems to be possible without loss of information. Weight and size of the horse are not major influences.