Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 1

Automatic Exposure Controls

An automatic exposure control is designed to end an exposure. AECs only controls the amount of time, they do not affect milliampere or kVp, the technologist is still required to set their techniques. AECs can also be referred to as phototimers.

In order for the exposure switch to automatically shut off, the AEC will measure how many photons have reached the image receptor, when the dose is where it needs to be it will shut off automatically. This occurs through the use of the ionization chambers. An ionization chamber is a thin plate that is inside of the receptor. Typically machines have either three or five. Technologist are given the opportunity to select which chambers they want to use. If they only chose to use two of them, the voltage will be recorded for each one, they will be added together and divided by the number of chambers used. This is called averaging. It is important to know where the ionization chambers are located because positioning the part centered to them will be critical.

Positioning is one of the most important pieces of using AECs, whatever chambers are activated on the console will be the one that read the amount of photons that are attenuating to the image receptor. For example, an upright abdomen is being done and all three AEC chambers are active, if the technologist positions the patient and has the bucky too high the top two chambers will read that it has enough photons and shut off, this is because more photons have attenuated through the lungs. This will result in an under exposed abdomen. To compensate for this either the bucky should be lowered, taking the chambers out of the lung fields, or the top two chambers should be deselected. In some cases it is not feasible to correct the problems using positioning, in these cases it is acceptable to use density controls, providing that the sensitivity number is in a diagnostic range. The controls, usually seen as -3, - 2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3.

Backup time is a safety net that was created in order to make sure that at some point the AEC releases the exposure switch in case of technical error. Some examples for when this may be needed are if the technical factors were set too low, so the image receptor continues to think it needs more and more photons, this would result in patients getting a large, unnecessary dose of radiation. The “backup times cannot exceed the tube limit, and should be set at 150% of the anticipated manual exposure mAs,” (Adler, 2013, pg. 105). By law the exposures above 50 kVp have to terminate by 600 mAs, and 2,000 mAs below 50 kVp. This is for patient and technologist protection.

Caveats to using automatic exposure controls are subject density and contrast problems, collimation, and timing problems. Because the AECs detect how many photons are approaching the image receptor if there are unexpected subject densities on the image it will affect how long the exposure is on. For example, if fluid is in the lungs, the AEC will be on for a longer period of time because it will detect that more photons are needed to get to the receptor, resulting in over exposure of everything else. Different pathologies, or injuries will reflect this, resulting in overexposure if the radiographer is not mindful. Collimation affects the AECs because if collimation occurs over one of the chambers it will act as though it is not getting enough photons, keeping the exposure on for longer. Another caveat is the minimum response time, AECs are around 0.001 second, if a smaller part is exposed it will need less time than this, either mA should be decreased or AECs should not be used.