UPDATE : Friday, June 5, 2020
Siemens CT scanner suffers software glitch
  • By Lee Hye-seon
  • Published 2018.03.02 14:53
  • Updated 2018.03.02 14:53
  • comments 0

Siemens Healthineers Korea recently had a hard time because of radiation leakage from its computed tomography (CT) scanners due to a glitch in its software called Care Dose.

The healthcare IT firm said it identified a flaw in the software calculating radiation dose higher than previously estimated dose when the CT scanner examined the head in the frontal mode. To correct this, the company reported the flaw to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS). However, some local media have mistakenly regarded it as if the machine was leaking radiation.

A ministry official confirmed that Siemens Healthineers reported the issue to the ministry. “The company said it would take follow-up measures,” the official said.

Siemens Healthineers said it would tell hospitals not to use the frontal mode when operating Siemens CT scanners’ Care Dose software due to the risk of exposure to unnecessary radiation. The company would also update the software for recently manufactured 118 units of “Somatom Emotion 16-side Configuration.”

The software glitch was found in six units of Somatom Force, 71 units of Somatom Sensation, and 118 units of Somatom Emotion 16-side Configuration.

Siemens said that the malfunction occurred when the CT scanners were in the frontal mode when examining the head.

In a CT scan, the machine generates weak X-ray to take a reference value as to which part of the patient should be shot. Then, the device decides which point to take a photo. However, the frontal mode made the CT scanning program to miscalculate the radiation dose, giving a higher output number than previously calculated, the company said.

Care Dose reduces the radiation dose to one-fifth of that of general CT scans by measuring the bone thickness of the patient. For example, if other general CT scanners produce radiation at 100 for a scan on the head, Care Dose reduces it to 20 by measuring the size of the patient’s head and bone thickness.

“When taking a picture of the head, CT scanners shoot the side of the head, shooting from the right ear through the left ear. This is because the side photo enables the medical imaging specialist to accurately read the scan and confirm whether or not the patient has a disease. The frontal shooting makes it almost impossible to read the scan,” said Lee Woo-gon, senior director and head of the strategy and business development at Siemens Healthineers Korea.

“Even if the machine was in the frontal mode, our scanners expose much less radiation than other products because Care Dose helps reduce the radiation dose,” he said.

Lee emphasized that there was no case of the frontal scanning in Korea.

“We have decided to update our software because the frontal scanning did not reduce the radiation level to one fifth, going off the mark from our previous estimate. So, we’re correcting it,” he added.


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