Jog-shuttle wheel turns heads and wrists

June 1, 2005

A gadget similar to one popular among video editors is scoring points with radiologists. They have found it helps avoid ergonomic injuries and speeds the navigation of large multislice CT data sets.

A gadget similar to one popular among video editors is scoring points with radiologists. They have found it helps avoid ergonomic injuries and speeds the navigation of large multislice CT data sets.

Anthony J. Sherbondy and colleagues at Stanford University analyzed the navigation of large CT angiography data sets acquired with an eight-slice scanner from patients with vascular disease. The investigators asked five radiologists with CTA experience to find 25 targets for the clinical diagnosis. They gauged the radiologists' efficiency and accuracy in accomplishing this task using various navigation tools: a jog-shuttle wheel, a mouse, a tablet and stylus divided into two independent mapping control devices, and a trackball.

The jog-shuttle wheel ranked highest in terms of speed and comfort, while the trackball scored the lowest. Similar experiences at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Maryland confirmed Sherbondy's findings. He published his group's results in the February issue of Radiology.

PACS vendors usually offer workstations with either a standard trackball or a three-button mouse on increasingly sophisticated CT and MR image navigation systems. Radiologists have attributed wrist, forearm, and hand soreness to these devices.

Although several factors beyond utility and ergonomics determine whether a device will catch on, radiologists and clinicians should demand that PACS workstation vendors consider including devices like the jog-shuttle wheel. Their qualitative advantages seem clear when measured against the common trackball and mouse. The implementation of input devices that make for a better fit with MSCT data set navigation may reduce repetitive injuries incurred by radiologists and clinicians, Sherbondy said.