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Management of Radiation Oncology Patients with Cochlear Implant and Other Bionic Devices in the Brain and Head and Neck Regions

F Guo

F.Q Guo1, 2*, Z Chen1, 2, R Nath1, 2, (1) Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT, (2) Yale Univ School of Medicine, New Haven, CT


SU-E-T-570 Sunday 3:00PM - 6:00PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: To investigate the current status of clinical usage of cochlear implant (CI) and other bionic devices (BD) in the brain and head & neck regions (BH&N) and their management in patients during radiotherapy to ensure patient health and safety as well as optimum radiation delivery.

Methods: Literature review was performed with both CIs and radiotherapy and their variants as keywords in PubMed, INSPEC and other sources. The focus was on CIs during radiotherapy, but it also included other BDs in BH&N, such as auditory brainstem implant, bionic retinal implant, and hearing aids, among others.

Results: Interactions between CIs and radiation may cause CIs malfunction. The presence of CIs may also cause suboptimum dose distribution if a treatment plan was not well designed. A few studies were performed for the hearing functions of CIs under irradiations of 4 MV and 6 MV x-rays. However, x-rays with higher energies (10 to 18 MV) broadly used in radiotherapy have not been explored. These higher energetic beams are more damaging to electronics due to strong penetrating power and also due to neutrons generated in the treatment process. Modern CIs are designed with more and more complicated integrated circuits, which may be more susceptible to radiation damage and malfunction. Therefore, careful management is important for safety and treatment outcomes.

Conclusion: Although AAPM TG-34, TG-63, and TG-203 (update of TG-34, not published yet) reports may be referenced for management of CIs and other BDs in the brain and H&N regions, a site- and device-specified guideline should be developed for CIs and other BDs. Additional evaluation of CI functions under clinically relevant set-ups should also be performed to provide clinicians with better knowledge in clinical decision making.

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