Section: OFFIS DCMTK (1)
Updated: Thu Nov 29 2018
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getscu - DICOM retrieve (C-GET) SCU



getscu [options] peer port [dcmfile-in...]



The getscu application implements an SCU for the Query/Retrieve Service Class. getscu supports retrieve functionality using the C-GET message. It sends query keys to an SCP and waits for responses with images or other DICOM objects sent via C-STORE. As the DICOM service demands, C-GET and the accompanying C-STORE messages are handled on the same association. Therefore, objects can only be received by getscu itself and cannot be sent to a third party (movescu would be the right tool for this task).  


peer        hostname of DICOM peer

port        tcp/ip port number of peer

dcmfile-in  DICOM query file(s)




general options

  -h    --help
          print this help text and exit

          print version information and exit

          print expanded command line arguments

  -q    --quiet
          quiet mode, print no warnings and errors

  -v    --verbose
          verbose mode, print processing details

  -d    --debug
          debug mode, print debug information

  -ll   --log-level  [l]evel: string constant
          (fatal, error, warn, info, debug, trace)
          use level l for the logger

  -lc   --log-config  [f]ilename: string
          use config file f for the logger

  +v    --verbose-pc
          show presentation contexts in verbose mode


network options

override matching keys:

  -k    --key  [k]ey: gggg,eeee="str", path or dictionary name="str"
          override matching key

query information model:

  -P    --patient
          use patient root information model (default)

  -S    --study
          use study root information model

  -O    --psonly
          use patient/study only information model

application entity titles:

  -aet  --aetitle  [a]etitle: string
          set my calling AE title (default: GETSCU)

  -aec  --call  [a]etitle: string
          set called AE title of peer (default: ANY-SCP)

preferred storage transfer syntaxes (incoming associations):

  +x=   --prefer-uncompr
          prefer explicit VR local byte order (default)

  +xe   --prefer-little
          prefer explicit VR little endian TS

  +xb   --prefer-big
          prefer explicit VR big endian TS

  +xs   --prefer-lossless
          prefer default JPEG lossless TS

  +xy   --prefer-jpeg8
          prefer default JPEG lossy TS for 8 bit data

  +xx   --prefer-jpeg12
          prefer default JPEG lossy TS for 12 bit data

  +xv   --prefer-j2k-lossless
          prefer JPEG 2000 lossless TS

  +xw   --prefer-j2k-lossy
          prefer JPEG 2000 lossy TS

  +xt   --prefer-jls-lossless
          prefer JPEG-LS lossless TS

  +xu   --prefer-jls-lossy
          prefer JPEG-LS lossy TS

  +xm   --prefer-mpeg2
          prefer MPEG2 Main Profile @ Main Level TS

  +xh   --prefer-mpeg2-high
          prefer MPEG2 Main Profile @ High Level TS

  +xn   --prefer-mpeg4
          prefer MPEG4 AVC/H.264 HP / Level 4.1 TS

  +xl   --prefer-mpeg4-bd
          prefer MPEG4 AVC/H.264 BD-compatible HP / Level 4.1 TS

  +x2   --prefer-mpeg4-2-2d
          prefer MPEG4 AVC/H.264 HP / Level 4.2 TS for 2D Videos

  +x3   --prefer-mpeg4-2-3d
          prefer MPEG4 AVC/H.264 HP / Level 4.2 TS for 3D Videos

  +xo   --prefer-mpeg4-2-st
          prefer MPEG4 AVC/H.264 Stereo HP / Level 4.2 TS

  +x4   --prefer-hevc
          prefer HEVC H.265 Main Profile / Level 5.1 TS

  +x5   --prefer-hevc10
          prefer HEVC H.265 Main 10 Profile / Level 5.1 TS

  +xr   --prefer-rle
          prefer RLE lossless TS

  +xd   --prefer-deflated
          prefer deflated explicit VR little endian TS

  +xi   --implicit
          accept implicit VR little endian TS only

proposed retrieve transfer syntaxes (outgoing associations):

  -x=   --propose-uncompr
          propose all uncompressed TS, explicit VR
          with local byte ordering first (default)

  -xe   --propose-little
          propose all uncompressed TS, explicit VR little endian first

  -xb   --propose-big
          propose all uncompressed TS, explicit VR big endian first

  -xd   --propose-deflated
          propose deflated explicit VR little endian TS
          and all uncompressed transfer syntaxes

  -xi   --propose-implicit
          propose implicit VR little endian TS only

other network options:

  -to   --timeout  [s]econds: integer (default: unlimited)
          timeout for connection requests

  -ta   --acse-timeout  [s]econds: integer (default: 30)
          timeout for ACSE messages

  -td   --dimse-timeout  [s]econds: integer (default: unlimited)
          timeout for DIMSE messages

  -pdu  --max-pdu  [n]umber of bytes: integer (4096..131072)
          set max receive pdu to n bytes (default: 16384)

        --repeat  [n]umber: integer
          repeat n times

          abort association instead of releasing it


output options


  -od   --output-directory  [d]irectory: string (default: ".")
          write received objects to existing directory d

storage mode:

  -B    --normal
          receive in memory, then write to disk (default)

  +B    --bit-preserving
          receive directly to disk

          ignore store data, receive but do not store



Each file supplied on the command line will be sent to the SCP as part of a C-GET request. The query file must be a valid DICOM data set containing the dataset part of a C-GET-RQ message. The query file could, for instance, be created with the dump2dcm utility from a script like the following example:

# request all images for the patient with ID=PAT001
(0008,0052) CS [PATIENT]     # QueryRetrieveLevel
(0010,0020) LO [PAT001]      # PatientID

Another possibility is to use the dcmodify tool to create a file from scratch using the option --create-file with successive calls to the --insert option. Individual attributes can be modified or supplemented using the -k (or --key) option. For example the command:

getscu -k "0010,0020=PAT002" caesar 5678 patqry.dcm

will, when sent to the SCP caesar at TCP/IP port 5678, cause any PatientID attribute in patqry.dcm to have the value 'PAT002'. If such an attribute is present it will be replaced, if absent it will be inserted. The -k option can be present more than once. The value part (after the '=') may be absent causing the attribute to be sent with zero length. It is also possible to specify sequences, items and nested attributes using the -k option. In these cases, a special 'path' notation has to be used. Details can be found in the dcmodify documentation.

If no file is specified on the command line, the query must be specified completely with one or more -k options. If multiple query files are provided, getscu will send multiple C-GET requests to the SCP.  

Known Problems

getscu is intended to be used as a testing tool for DICOM software developers. The query keys file must be created by hand based upon the contents of the SCP.

C-GET is not supported by all Query/Retrieve SCPs. The C-MOVE protocol which is implemented by the movescu tool is more commonly found in practice.

The getscu application makes no attempt to prevent incorrect queries. In particular, the query keys of a C-MOVE request should only contain the QueryRetrieveLevel attribute and one or more of the so-called 'unique key attributes' (PatientID, StudyInstanceUID, SeriesInstanceUID and SOPInstanceUID).  

DICOM Conformance


SCU Conformance

The getscu application supports the following SOP Classes as an SCU:

GETPatientRootQueryRetrieveInformationModel          1.2.840.10008.
GETStudyRootQueryRetrieveInformationModel            1.2.840.10008.
GETPatientStudyOnlyQueryRetrieveInformationModel     1.2.840.10008.

The getscu application will propose presentation contexts for one of the abovementioned supported SOP Classes depending on command line options (-P, -S, or -O). For outgoing associations, the following transfer syntaxes are supported:

LittleEndianImplicitTransferSyntax                   1.2.840.10008.1.2
LittleEndianExplicitTransferSyntax                   1.2.840.10008.1.2.1
DeflatedExplicitVRLittleEndianTransferSyntax         1.2.840.10008. (*)
BigEndianExplicitTransferSyntax                      1.2.840.10008.1.2.2

(*) if compiled with zlib support enabled (see --version output)

Which transfer syntaxes are actually proposed in what order, can be specified with the --propose options.  

Storage Conformance

The getscu application supports the following SOP Classes as an SCP:

VerificationSOPClass                                 1.2.840.10008.1.1

RETIRED_StoredPrintStorage                           1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_HardcopyGrayscaleImageStorage                1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_HardcopyColorImageStorage                    1.2.840.10008.
ComputedRadiographyImageStorage                      1.2.840.10008.
DigitalXRayImageStorageForPresentation               1.2.840.10008.
DigitalXRayImageStorageForProcessing                 1.2.840.10008.
DigitalMammographyXRayImageStorageForPresentation    1.2.840.10008.
DigitalMammographyXRayImageStorageForProcessing      1.2.840.10008.
DigitalIntraOralXRayImageStorageForPresentation      1.2.840.10008.
DigitalIntraOralXRayImageStorageForProcessing        1.2.840.10008.
CTImageStorage                                       1.2.840.10008.
EnhancedCTImageStorage                               1.2.840.10008.
LegacyConvertedEnhancedCTImageStorage                1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_UltrasoundMultiframeImageStorage             1.2.840.10008.
UltrasoundMultiframeImageStorage                     1.2.840.10008.
MRImageStorage                                       1.2.840.10008.
EnhancedMRImageStorage                               1.2.840.10008.
MRSpectroscopyStorage                                1.2.840.10008.
EnhancedMRColorImageStorage                          1.2.840.10008.
LegacyConvertedEnhancedMRImageStorage                1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_NuclearMedicineImageStorage                  1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_UltrasoundImageStorage                       1.2.840.10008.
UltrasoundImageStorage                               1.2.840.10008.
EnhancedUSVolumeStorage                              1.2.840.10008.
SecondaryCaptureImageStorage                         1.2.840.10008.
MultiframeSingleBitSecondaryCaptureImageStorage      1.2.840.10008.
MultiframeGrayscaleByteSecondaryCaptureImageStorage  1.2.840.10008.
MultiframeGrayscaleWordSecondaryCaptureImageStorage  1.2.840.10008.
MultiframeTrueColorSecondaryCaptureImageStorage      1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_StandaloneOverlayStorage                     1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_StandaloneCurveStorage                       1.2.840.10008.
TwelveLeadECGWaveformStorage                         1.2.840.10008.
GeneralECGWaveformStorage                            1.2.840.10008.
AmbulatoryECGWaveformStorage                         1.2.840.10008.
HemodynamicWaveformStorage                           1.2.840.10008.
CardiacElectrophysiologyWaveformStorage              1.2.840.10008.
BasicVoiceAudioWaveformStorage                       1.2.840.10008.
GeneralAudioWaveformStorage                          1.2.840.10008.
ArterialPulseWaveformStorage                         1.2.840.10008.
RespiratoryWaveformStorage                           1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_StandaloneModalityLUTStorage                 1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_StandaloneVOILUTStorage                      1.2.840.10008.
GrayscaleSoftcopyPresentationStateStorage            1.2.840.10008.
ColorSoftcopyPresentationStateStorage                1.2.840.10008.
PseudoColorSoftcopyPresentationStateStorage          1.2.840.10008.
BlendingSoftcopyPresentationStateStorage             1.2.840.10008.
XAXRFGrayscaleSoftcopyPresentationStateStorage       1.2.840.10008.
XRayAngiographicImageStorage                         1.2.840.10008.
EnhancedXAImageStorage                               1.2.840.10008.
XRayRadiofluoroscopicImageStorage                    1.2.840.10008.
EnhancedXRFImageStorage                              1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_XRayAngiographicBiPlaneImageStorage          1.2.840.10008.
XRay3DAngiographicImageStorage                       1.2.840.10008.
XRay3DCraniofacialImageStorage                       1.2.840.10008.
BreastTomosynthesisImageStorage                      1.2.840.10008.
IntravascularOpt.Coh.Tom.ImageStorageForPresentation 1.2.840.10008.
IntravascularOpt.Coh.Tom.ImageStorageForProcessing   1.2.840.10008.
NuclearMedicineImageStorage                          1.2.840.10008.
RawDataStorage                                       1.2.840.10008.
SpatialRegistrationStorage                           1.2.840.10008.
SpatialFiducialsStorage                              1.2.840.10008.
DeformableSpatialRegistrationStorage                 1.2.840.10008.
SegmentationStorage                                  1.2.840.10008.
SurfaceSegmentationStorage                           1.2.840.10008.
RealWorldValueMappingStorage                         1.2.840.10008.
SurfaceScanMeshStorage                               1.2.840.10008.
SurfaceScanPointCloudStorage                         1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_VLImageStorage                               1.2.840.10008.
VLEndoscopicImageStorage                             1.2.840.10008.
VideoEndoscopicImageStorage                          1.2.840.10008.
VLMicroscopicImageStorage                            1.2.840.10008.
VideoMicroscopicImageStorage                         1.2.840.10008.
VLSlideCoordinatesMicroscopicImageStorage            1.2.840.10008.
VLPhotographicImageStorage                           1.2.840.10008.
VideoPhotographicImageStorage                        1.2.840.10008.
OphthalmicPhotography8BitImageStorage                1.2.840.10008.
OphthalmicPhotography16BitImageStorage               1.2.840.10008.
StereometricRelationshipStorage                      1.2.840.10008.
OphthalmicTomographyImageStorage                     1.2.840.10008.
VLWholeSlideMicroscopyImageStorage                   1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_VLMultiframeImageStorage                     1.2.840.10008.
LensometryMeasurementsStorage                        1.2.840.10008.
AutorefractionMeasurementsStorage                    1.2.840.10008.
KeratometryMeasurementsStorage                       1.2.840.10008.
SubjectiveRefractionMeasurementsStorage              1.2.840.10008.
VisualAcuityMeasurementsStorage                      1.2.840.10008.
SpectaclePrescriptionReportStorage                   1.2.840.10008.
OphthalmicAxialMeasurementsStorage                   1.2.840.10008.
IntraocularLensCalculationsStorage                   1.2.840.10008.
MacularGridThicknessAndVolumeReportStorage           1.2.840.10008.
OphthalmicVisualFieldStaticPerimetryMeasurementsSt.  1.2.840.10008.
OphthalmicThicknessMapStorage                        1.2.840.10008.
BasicTextSRStorage                                   1.2.840.10008.
EnhancedSRStorage                                    1.2.840.10008.
ComprehensiveSRStorage                               1.2.840.10008.
Comprehensive3DSRStorage                             1.2.840.10008.
ProcedureLogStorage                                  1.2.840.10008.
MammographyCADSRStorage                              1.2.840.10008.
KeyObjectSelectionDocumentStorage                    1.2.840.10008.
ChestCADSRStorage                                    1.2.840.10008.
XRayRadiationDoseSRStorage                           1.2.840.10008.
ColonCADSRStorage                                    1.2.840.10008.
ImplantationPlanSRDocumentStorage                    1.2.840.10008.
EncapsulatedPDFStorage                               1.2.840.10008.
EncapsulatedCDAStorage                               1.2.840.10008.
PositronEmissionTomographyImageStorage               1.2.840.10008.
LegacyConvertedEnhancedPETImageStorage               1.2.840.10008.
RETIRED_StandalonePETCurveStorage                    1.2.840.10008.
EnhancedPETImageStorage                              1.2.840.10008.
BasicStructuredDisplayStorage                        1.2.840.10008.
RTImageStorage                                       1.2.840.10008.
RTDoseStorage                                        1.2.840.10008.
RTStructureSetStorage                                1.2.840.10008.
RTBeamsTreatmentRecordStorage                        1.2.840.10008.
RTPlanStorage                                        1.2.840.10008.
RTBrachyTreatmentRecordStorage                       1.2.840.10008.
RTTreatmentSummaryRecordStorage                      1.2.840.10008.
RTIonPlanStorage                                     1.2.840.10008.
RTIonBeamsTreatmentRecordStorage                     1.2.840.10008.
RTBeamsDeliveryInstructionStorage                    1.2.840.10008.

The getscu application will usually accept presentation contexts for all of the abovementioned supported SOP Classes using any of the following transfer syntaxes:

LittleEndianImplicitTransferSyntax                   1.2.840.10008.1.2
LittleEndianExplicitTransferSyntax                   1.2.840.10008.1.2.1
BigEndianExplicitTransferSyntax                      1.2.840.10008.1.2.2

When acting as a storage SCP, the getscu application will prefer transfer syntaxes having an explicit encoding over the default implicit transfer syntax. If getscu is running on big-endian hardware it will prefer BigEndianExplicit to LittleEndianExplicit transfer syntax (and vice versa). This behavior can be changed with the --prefer options (see above). Depending on the --prefer option actually used, a combination of the following transfer syntaxes is supported:

LittleEndianImplicitTransferSyntax                   1.2.840.10008.1.2
LittleEndianExplicitTransferSyntax                   1.2.840.10008.1.2.1
DeflatedExplicitVRLittleEndianTransferSyntax         1.2.840.10008. (*)
BigEndianExplicitTransferSyntax                      1.2.840.10008.1.2.2
JPEGProcess1TransferSyntax                           1.2.840.10008.
JPEGProcess2_4TransferSyntax                         1.2.840.10008.
JPEGProcess14SV1TransferSyntax                       1.2.840.10008.
JPEGLSLosslessTransferSyntax                         1.2.840.10008.
JPEGLSLossyTransferSyntax                            1.2.840.10008.
JPEG2000LosslessOnlyTransferSyntax                   1.2.840.10008.
JPEG2000TransferSyntax                               1.2.840.10008.
MPEG2MainProfileAtMainLevelTransferSyntax            1.2.840.10008.
MPEG2MainProfileAtHighLevelTransferSyntax            1.2.840.10008.
MPEG4HighProfileLevel4_1TransferSyntax               1.2.840.10008.
MPEG4BDcompatibleHighProfileLevel4_1TransferSyntax   1.2.840.10008.
MPEG4HighProfileLevel4_2_For2DVideoTransferSyntax    1.2.840.10008.
MPEG4HighProfileLevel4_2_For3DVideoTransferSyntax    1.2.840.10008.
MPEG4StereoHighProfileLevel4_2TransferSyntax         1.2.840.10008.
HEVCMainProfileLevel5_1TransferSyntax                1.2.840.10008.
HEVCMain10ProfileLevel5_1TransferSyntax              1.2.840.10008.
RLELosslessTransferSyntax                            1.2.840.10008.1.2.5

(*) if compiled with zlib support enabled (see --version output)

The getscu application does not support extended negotiation.  


getscu --patient --call ARCHIVE caesar 104 q.dcm

sends the attributes contained in the DICOM file 'q.dcm' as part of a C-GET request to application entity ARCHIVE on the host caesar at port 104 using the Patient Root query model. getscu itself uses the default AE title GETSCU.

In contrast to C-MOVE-based Query/Retrieve SOP Classes, the C-GET-based SOP Classes utilized by getscu only permit retrieving the desired objects on the same connection, i.e. getscu will receive the objects itself. Thus, it is not possible to tell the SCP to transmit the objects to a third party. This is a limitation of the DICOM protocol and not of the getscu tool.  


The level of logging output of the various command line tools and underlying libraries can be specified by the user. By default, only errors and warnings are written to the standard error stream. Using option --verbose also informational messages like processing details are reported. Option --debug can be used to get more details on the internal activity, e.g. for debugging purposes. Other logging levels can be selected using option --log-level. In --quiet mode only fatal errors are reported. In such very severe error events, the application will usually terminate. For more details on the different logging levels, see documentation of module 'oflog'.

In case the logging output should be written to file (optionally with logfile rotation), to syslog (Unix) or the event log (Windows) option --log-config can be used. This configuration file also allows for directing only certain messages to a particular output stream and for filtering certain messages based on the module or application where they are generated. An example configuration file is provided in <etcdir>/logger.cfg.  


All command line tools use the following notation for parameters: square brackets enclose optional values (0-1), three trailing dots indicate that multiple values are allowed (1-n), a combination of both means 0 to n values.

Command line options are distinguished from parameters by a leading '+' or '-' sign, respectively. Usually, order and position of command line options are arbitrary (i.e. they can appear anywhere). However, if options are mutually exclusive the rightmost appearance is used. This behavior conforms to the standard evaluation rules of common Unix shells.

In addition, one or more command files can be specified using an '@' sign as a prefix to the filename (e.g. @command.txt). Such a command argument is replaced by the content of the corresponding text file (multiple whitespaces are treated as a single separator unless they appear between two quotation marks) prior to any further evaluation. Please note that a command file cannot contain another command file. This simple but effective approach allows one to summarize common combinations of options/parameters and avoids longish and confusing command lines (an example is provided in file <datadir>/dumppat.txt).  


The getscu utility will attempt to load DICOM data dictionaries specified in the DCMDICTPATH environment variable. By default, i.e. if the DCMDICTPATH environment variable is not set, the file <datadir>/dicom.dic will be loaded unless the dictionary is built into the application (default for Windows).

The default behavior should be preferred and the DCMDICTPATH environment variable only used when alternative data dictionaries are required. The DCMDICTPATH environment variable has the same format as the Unix shell PATH variable in that a colon (':') separates entries. On Windows systems, a semicolon (';') is used as a separator. The data dictionary code will attempt to load each file specified in the DCMDICTPATH environment variable. It is an error if no data dictionary can be loaded.  


findscu(1), movescu(1), dump2dcm(1), dcmodify(1)  


Copyright (C) 2011-2018 by OFFIS e.V., Escherweg 2, 26121 Oldenburg, Germany.



general options
network options
output options
Known Problems
DICOM Conformance
SCU Conformance
Storage Conformance