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Training Monthly QA of Medical Accelerators: Illustrated Instructions for Self-Learning

L Court

L Court1*, D Brown2 , H Wang1 , B Maddox3 , D Aten1 , H MacGregor4 , P Chi1 , A Yock2 , S Gao1 , M Aristophanous1 , P Balter1 , (1) UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, (2) University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, (3) Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, (4) University of Cape Town, South Africa


SU-F-E-18 (Sunday, July 31, 2016) 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: To develop and test clear illustrated instructions for training of monthly mechanical QA of medical linear accelerators.

Methods: Illustrated instructions were created for monthly mechanical QA with tolerance tabulated, and underwent several steps of review and refinement. Testers with zero QA experience were then recruited from our radiotherapy department (1 student, 2 computational scientists and 8 dosimetrists). The following parameters were progressively de-calibrated on a Varian C-series linac: Group A = gantry angle, ceiling laser position, X1 jaw position, couch longitudinal position, physical graticule position (5 testers); Group B = Group A + wall laser position, couch lateral and vertical position, collimator angle (3 testers); Group C = Group B + couch angle, wall laser angle, and optical distance indicator (3 testers). Testers were taught how to use the linac, and then used the instructions to try to identify these errors. A physicist observed each session, giving support on machine operation, as necessary. The instructions were further tested with groups of therapists, graduate students and physics residents at multiple institutions. We have also changed the language of the instructions to simulate using the instructions with non-English speakers.

Results: Testers were able to follow the instructions. They determined gantry, collimator and couch angle errors within 0.4, 0.3, and 0.9degrees of the actual changed values, respectively. Laser positions were determined within 1mm, and jaw positions within 2mm. Couch position errors were determined within 2 and 3mm for lateral/longitudinal and vertical errors, respectively. Accessory positioning errors were determined within 1mm. ODI errors were determined within 2mm when comparing with distance sticks, and 6mm when using blocks, indicating that distance sticks should be the preferred approach for inexperienced staff.

Conclusions: Inexperienced users were able to follow these instructions, and catch errors within the criteria suggested by AAPM TG142 for linacs used for IMRT.

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