High incidence of implantable cardioverter defibrillator malfunctions during radiation therapy: neutrons as a probable cause of soft errors
SourceEuropace, 15, 1, (2013), pp. 60-65
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectNCEBP 14: Cardiovascular diseases; ONCOL 4: Quality of Care
AIMS: To investigate the behaviour of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) function during actual radiotherapy sessions. METHODS AND RESULTS: Fifteen patients with an ICD underwent 17 radiation treatments for cancer [cumulative dose to the tumour was between 16 Gray (Gy) and 70 Gy; photon beams with maximum energies between 6 megaelectronvolt (MeV) and 18 MeV were employed]. During every session, the ICD was programmed to a monitoring mode to prevent inappropriate therapy delivery. Afterwards, the ICDs were interrogated to ensure proper function. Calculated radiation dose at the ICD site was <1 Gy in all patients. In 5 out of 17 radiation treatments (29%) the ICDs showed 6 malfunctions (35%). We noticed four disturbances in the memory data or device resets during radiation treatment and one case of inappropriate ventricular fibrillation detection due to external noise. In one case a late device data error was observed. All malfunctions occurred at 10 and 18 MeV beam energies. CONCLUSION: Despite the fact that all recommended precautions were taken to minimize the damage to the ICDs during radiotherapy and the calculated dose to the ICDs was <1 Gy, in 29% of the treatments a malfunction occurred. We observed a possible correlation between the beam energy and the malfunctions. This correlation may be due to an interaction between neutrons produced in the head of the linear accelerator at beam energies >/=10 MeV, and boron-10 which is present in the integrated circuit.
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