Exploring the reliability of the exposure index with a range of kV and mAs values: An experimental study

Mr Tony van Schoonhoven, Dr Christopher M. Hayre, Dr Andrew England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



The exposure index (EI) is a numerical post-exposure tool that provides feedback to diagnostic radiographers undertaking digital X-ray examinations. The EI seeks to provide an indicator of the quantity of incident ionising radiation imparted on an image receptor. However, any large increase to X-ray intensity could interfere with the calculation of the EI. The aim of this paper was to evaluate detector overexposure by increasing X-ray beam intensity and quantifying the resultant effect on the EI.


A porcine hip was purchased and exposed with varying tube potentials (50 to 110 kVp) and tube current-time products (5 to 100 mAs). Entrance surface dose (ESD) and EI values were determined for each exposure. For each acquisition parameter, two dose readings were collected. Linear regression was utilised to ascertain the relationship between the EI and varying tube exposures.


Tube exposures between 50 and 80 kVp demonstrated strong positive linear correlation coefficients (r = 0.993, p <0.001; r = 0.999, p <0.001; r = 0.983, p <0.001; r = 0.925, p <0.001) between ESD and EI. However, upon increasing tube exposures (90 to 110 kVp), interference with the EI calculation was demonstrated, which impacted both linearity, strength and direction of correlation (90 kVp r = 0.083, p = .248; 100 kVp r = -0.066, p = .479; 110 kVp r = -0.110, p = .601). Consequently, the use of higher tube exposures demonstrated variability with the EI by not demonstrating an expected positive linear relationship, which remained the initial expectation in this study.


The EI value is generally associated with providing reliable feedback to radiographers, yet this paper identifies some unexpected findings at high tube exposures (90 to 110 kVp). In short, this experiment provides insight that the EI value demonstrates inconsistent values within certain energy ranges.

Implications for practice

The findings have implications because it identifies variability of EI values at higher tube exposures. EI values may, therefore, not be helpful in providing meaningful feedback to radiographers when making changes to exposure factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-566
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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