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Med Phys. 2005 Nov;32(11):3267-78.

Improving IMRT quality control efficiency using an amorphous silicon electronic portal imager.

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  • 1North Western Medical Physics, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester M20 4BX, United Kingdom.


An amorphous silicon electronic portal imaging device (EPID) has been investigated to determine its usefulness and efficiency for performing linear accelerator quality control checks specific to step and shoot intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Several dosimetric parameters were measured using the EPID: dose linearity and segment to segment reproducibility of low dose segments, and delivery accuracy of fractions of monitor units. Results were compared to ion chamber measurements. Low dose beam flatness and symmetry were tested by overlaying low dose beam profiles onto the profile from a stable high-dose exposure and visually checking for differences. Beam flatness and symmetry were also calculated and plotted against dose. Start-up reproducibility was tested by overlaying profiles from twenty successive two monitor unit segments. A method for checking the MLC leaf calibration was also tested, designed to be used on a daily or weekly basis, which consisted of summing the images from a series of matched fields. Daily images were coregistered with, then subtracted from, a reference image. A threshold image showing dose differences corresponding to > 0.5 mm positional errors was generated and the number of pixels with such dose differences used as numerical parameter to which a tolerance can be applied. The EPID was found to be a sensitive relative dosemeter, able to resolve dose differences of 0.01 cGy. However, at low absolute doses a reproducible dosimetric nonlinearity of up to 7% due to image lag/ghosting effects was measured. It was concluded that although the EPID is suitable to measure segment to segment reproducibility and fractional monitor unit delivery accuracy, it is still less useful than an ion chamber as a tool for dosimetric checks. The symmetry/flatness test proved to be an efficient method of checking low dose profiles, much faster than any of the alternative methods. The MLC test was found to be extremely sensitive to sudden changes in MLC calibration but works best with a composite reference image consisting of an average of five successive days' images. When used in this way it proved an effective and efficient daily check of MLC calibration. Overall, the amorphous silicon EPID was found to be a suitable device for IMRT QC although it is not recommended for dosimetric tests. Automatic procedures for low monitor unit profile analysis and MLC leaf positioning yield considerable time-savings over traditional film techniques.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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