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Brachytherapy. 2017 May - Jun;16(3):586-596. doi: 10.1016/j.brachy.2017.01.004. Epub 2017 Feb 10.

A retrospective analysis of catheter-based sources in intravascular brachytherapy.

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Department of Physics, Medical Physics Unit, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Electronic address:
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Medical Physics Unit, Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



Coronary artery disease involves the deposition of plaque along the walls of a coronary artery leading to narrowed or blocked vessels (stenosis) and is one of the main causes of death in developed countries. Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) is used to reverse stenosis. Restenosis (renarrowing) of the treated vessel is a major complication of PTCA. A metal mesh tube (stent) can be placed inside the vessel to prevent restenosis. Tissue stress incurred during PTCA and stenting can provoke neointimal cell proliferation leading to in-stent restenosis (ISR). Intravascular brachytherapy (IVBT), a form of internal radiotherapy, is used to treat ISR. Renewed interest in IVBT is being expressed as a treatment for patients with ISR in drug-eluting stents. Current treatment planning (TP) of IVBT is extremely limited and assumes human tissue can be approximated by water. The interactions of arterial plaque, guidewires, and the stent have been shown to attenuate radiation significantly but are ignored in TP. Other models have determined the degree of attenuation by each factor in isolation. For the first time, we create a model with several inhomogenities present to determine whether attenuation by multiple inhomogenities combines linearly or if a larger dose reduction than anticipated is realized. We are also able to evaluate a spatial distribution of dose around the source and in arterial walls.


A dosimetric analysis of two commercially available IVBT systems was performed in a Monte Carlo-based particle simulation (Geant4). Absorbed dose was calculated using a model of a human coronary artery with a calcified plaque and stent. Dose delivered in water was also calculated to evaluate the accuracy of a water approximation.


Dose as a function of θ shows significant variation around IVBT sources. For the Guidant Galileo, dose is reduced by 20% behind stent struts and as much as 66% in a region occluded by the guidewire, plaque, and stent. For the Novoste Beta Cath device, delivered dose is reduced by 19% and 58%, respectively, in the same regions.


Our findings show that the water approximation used in clinical practice to calculate dose is inaccurate when inhomogeneities are present. Methods proposed for calculating dose perturbations in IVBT may underestimate the magnitude of dose reduction. Increasing source dwell time seems unlikely to resolve dosimetric issues in IVBT. The effectiveness of currently existing β-emitting devices may be reduced in patients with complex lesions at the treatment site. Investigation of new radioisotopes and off-centering devices should be considered to improve dose outcomes.


Attenuation; Brachytherapy; Dose; Dosimetry; Intracoronary; Intravascular; Physics; Planning; Restenosis; Treatment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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