A Short Introduction to DICOM or Where's My Data?

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The DICOM standard specifies data structures, file formats and communications protocols. DICOM is both file format and a transfer protocol. DICOM is commonly used with medical data, especially images. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) holds the copyright to the standard.[1]

On The Scanner[edit]

The scanner console computer stores exams (studies) in the Local Patient Database. The scanner automatically transfers studies from the local patient database to our PACS but only if the study is set to automatically push to PACS. Studies should appear on the PACS within a few hours.
You can see the contents of the local patient database on the scanner console by pulling down the Patient menu and selecting Administration… Clicking on a patient name will open up that patient and show information about each exam. The PACS column on the far right shows if the scanner console has pushed an exam over to the PACS. If PACS status is completed, the series should be on the PACS.
The scanner only has space for a month's worth of scans. Once your studies are on the PACS, please delete them from the local database. Check the PACS first as transfers occasionally fail. Studies over two weeks old in the Local Patent Database are subject to deletion.

Getting Your Data the Easy Way[edit]

Dcmdb automates retrieving data from the PACS. At 1AM every morning, DicomQueryTool retrieves the previous day's studies to the shared volume dcmdb on pmac2752. At 5AM the server converts any DICOM files to NifTI. Studies are sorted into folders by Referring Physician Name. Studies without a referring physician name are put in the unknown folder.


To get your data, connect to smb://pmac2752.ad.bangor.ac.uk (Finder, Go, Connect to Server...) and mount the volume dcmdb. Open your folder and copy the studies you want. More details are on the dcmdb wiki page. Dcmdb is not a archival backup. Very old studies will be deleted when we run low on space.

Getting Your Data from the PACS[edit]

To find retrieve your study is on the PACS you need to run a DICOM query followed by a move. Our PACS will only move data to AE Titles and IP addresses it recognises and only to computers on the wired university network. Ask Andrew to add an AETitle for your desktop computer to the PACS. Once that is done you can configure a tool to run a query.

DicomQueryTool, Horos and OsiriX are tools that can query a PACS and retrieve studies. For more information, see the linked wiki page for the tool you wish to use.

  1. DICOM brochure, nema.org.