Safety Aspects of Pulsed Dose Rate Brachytherapy: Analysis of Errors in 1,300 Treatment Sessions

Kees Koedooder, Niek van Wieringen, Hans N. B. van der Grient, Yvonne R. J. van Herten, Bradley R. Pieters, Leo E. C. M. Blank

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Purpose: To determine the safety of pulsed-dose-rate (PDR) brachytherapy by analyzing errors and technical failures during treatment. Methods and Materials: More than 1,300 patients underwent treatment with PDR brachytherapy, using five PDR remote afterloaders. Most patients were treated with consecutive pulse schemes, also outside regular office hours. Tumors were located in the breast, esophagus, prostate, bladder, gynecology, anus/rectum, orbit, head/neck, with a miscellaneous group of small numbers, such as the lip, nose, and bile duct. Errors and technical failures were analyzed for 1,300 treatment sessions, for which nearly 20,000 pulses were delivered. For each tumor localization, the number and type of occurring errors were determined, as were which localizations were more error prone than others. Results: By routinely using the built-in dummy check source, only 0.2% of all pulses showed an error during the phase of the pulse when the active source was outside the afterloader. Localizations treated using flexible catheters had greater error frequencies than those treated with straight needles or rigid applicators. Disturbed pulse frequencies were in the range of 0.6% for the anus/rectum on a classic version 1 afterloader to 14.9% for orbital tumors using a version 2 afterloader. Exceeding the planned overall treatment time by >10% was observed in only 1% of all treatments. Patients received their dose as originally planned in 98% of all treatments. Conclusions: According to the experience in our institute with 1,300 PDR treatments, we found that PDR is a safe brachytherapy treatment modality, both during and outside of office hours. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)953-960
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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