In this critical review of the current practice of patient dose verification, we first demonstrate that a high accuracy about 1-2%, 1 SD) can be obtained. Accurate in vivo dosimetry is possible if diodes and thermoluminescence dosimeters TLDs), the main detector types in use for in vivo dosimetry, are carefully calibrated and the factors influencing their sensitivity are taken into account. Various methods and philosophies for applying patient dose verification are then evaluated: the measurement of each field for each fraction of each patient, a limited number of checks for all patients, or measurements of specific patient groups, for example, during total body irradiation (TBI) or conformal radiotherapy. The experience of a number of centers is then presented, providing information on the various types of errors detected by in vivo dosimetry, including their frequency and magnitude. From the results of recent studies it can be concluded that in centers having modem equipment with verification systems as well as comprehensive quality assurance (QA) programs, a systematic error larger than 5% in dose delivery is still present for 0.5-1% of the patient treatments. In other studies, a frequency of 3-10% of errors was observed for specific patient groups or when no verification system was present at the accelerator. These results were balanced against the additional manpower and other resources required for such a QA program. It could be concluded that patient dose verification should be an essential part of a QA program in a radiotherapy department, and plays a complementary role to treatment-sheet double checking. As the radiotherapy community makes the transition from the conventional two-dimensional (2D) to three-dimensional (3D) conformal and intensity modulated dose delivery, it is recommended that new treatment techniques be checked systematically for a few patients, and to perform in vivo dosimetry a few times for each patient for situations where errors in dose delivery should be minimized.

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International Journal of Radiation: Oncology - Biology - Physics
Department of Radiation Oncology

Essers, M., & Mijnheer, B. (1999). In vivo dosimetry during external photon beam radiotherapy. International Journal of Radiation: Oncology - Biology - Physics (Vol. 43, pp. 245–259). doi:10.1016/S0360-3016(98)00341-1