DISCLAIMER: This is Tom in Tech Support's personal website; therefore, any and all recommendations for products and services are solely his personal opinion. Although Tom is employed by Siemens, no endorsement by Siemens is intended or implied.
What is DICOM? DICOM is an acronym for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine. In simplest terms, DICOM is a standard for exchanging medical information such as patient images. According to Wikipedia, “DICOM is a standard for handling, storing, printing, and transmitting information in medical imaging. It includes a file format definition and a network communications protocol. The communication protocol is an application protocol that uses TCP/IP to communicate between systems. DICOM files can be exchanged between two entities that are capable of receiving image and patient data in DICOM format.”
Siemens Healthcare: DICOM Conformance Statements: Siemens DICOM Conformance Statements are available for download from healthcare.siemens.com.
Click here --> Siemens DICOM Conformance Statements
NOTE: In MI-SPECT, the DICOM Conformance Statement for 2009A software also covers versions VA46 (6.7) , VA50 (8.2), VA60 (8.5); as well as, VA10 for Symbia.net.
Understanding DICOM Connections: OTech has an excellent "Troubleshooting DICOM Connections" video on YouTube.
Viewing DICOM Images (1): For viewing DICOM images on a personal computer, Osiris software is the still the granddaddy of them all. While Osiris is no longer supported by its developer, it still remains free and available for download for both PC's and Mac's.
Click here to download --> Osiris 4.19 for Windows
Viewing DICOM Images (2): Siemens Healthcare offers an excellent free standalone viewer for DICOM images called syngo fastView.
Click here to download --> syngo fastView VX57H31
Click here to download --> DICOM Dumper
Below are examples of using DICOM Dumper to answer various questions simply by viewing DICOM tags.
- Example #1: Why is the study time off by 3 hours on Whole Body acquisitions?
- Example #2: Why are images sometimes display as one giant white square?
- Example #3: Why is the second image of a Whole-Body scan missing?
- Example #4: Why do images & savescreens created in color only appear in black & white?
- Example #5: Why are color savescreens not displayed with the correct window top & window bottom?
Viewing DICOM Tags (2): As much as I love absolutely DICOM Dumper, the DICOM Parser from Rubo Medical Imaging is also free and it is much, much easier to use. You simply drag & drop a DICOM file on top of the Rubo DICOM Parser icon, and then all the DICOM tags are instantly displayed. It doesn't get much easier than that.
Click here to download --> Rubo DICOM Parser
Troubleshooting DICOM Transfers: If you are experiencing problems transferring images to a particular DICOM node, then ClearCanvas Personal Edition Workstation can simulate that node for testing. After loading this application on your laptop or personal computer, simply launch the program and then assign your computer the same IP Address, AET, and port number as the destination node (for example, a PACS), and then using a crossover cable, connect your computer to the sending node and test.
Note: You can download an evaluation version of ClearCanvas Personal Edition Workstation and utilize all of its many features. Once your evaluation ends, you can continue to use the Open Source features, but the commercial features will no longer be available.
Click here to download--> ClearCanvas Workstation
After ClearCanvas PE Workstation is running:
Click on Tools > Options
Select DICOM Server
Enter the unit’s AE Title and Port Number
Troubleshooting DICOM Transfers (Advanced): First you will need a "packet sniffer" to grab the TCP/IP packets that are transferred between the sending and receiving nodes. Ethereal has always been the gold standard of packet sniffers. FYI, Ethereal is now known as Wire Shark. This is free software, open source software; therefore, there is no warranty.
Click here to download --> Download Wireshark (formerly called Ethereal, a free TCP/IP packet sniffer)
After Wireshark is running:
Click on Edit > Preferences
Select Protocols > DICOM >
Enter the ports to assign to DICOM
Most vendors use port 104, but some vendors may use other ports.
Understanding DICOM Transfers: At first glance, understanding DICOM transfers can be very intimidating. Most technicians and service engineers know that sending data via DICOM involves three items: an IP Address, an AET (Application Entity Title), and a Port Number. I like to think of these three items as a name, street address, and city/state. Without all three being correct, the item won't reach its intended destination. Fortunately, it is usually a very simple process to verify these three items. But even if all three items are correct, the DICOM transfer can fail for a number of reasons. There are SOP classes, maximum PDU's, different transfer syntaxes, and hundreds of DICOM tags that can create problems. To assist in your understanding, below are some examples.