Unintended exposure in radiotherapy: identification of prominent causes.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Unintended exposures in radiotherapy are likely to occur when certain conditions that favour such exposures exist. Based on the frequency of occurrence of various causes of 100 events of unintended exposures in radiotherapy as derived from the analysis of published reports, a checklist for assessing the vulnerability of radiotherapy facilities for potential accidents has been prepared. The list presents items to be considered for safety critical assessments of a radiotherapy department for the improvement of patient safety and the entire radiotherapy processes. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The resources used for this paper consist of 100 unintended radiotherapy exposures and were derived from existing published reports. The analysis was performed by forming two templates: one consisting of 10 initiating events and another of 35 contributing factors. RESULTS: Four most prominent initiating events were identified and together accounted for about 70% of all the unintended exposure events. Ten most prominent contributing factors were also identified and together accounted for about 70% of all the radiotherapy unintended exposure events covered under this study. CONCLUSION: With this knowledge of high frequency of occurrences, the identified four prominent initiating events and the 10 most prominent contributing factors must be checked and dealt with as a matter of priority when assessing the safety of a radiotherapy facility. A simple checklist for checking the quality assurance programmes of a radiotherapy department for every aspect of the design and delivery of radiation have been provided.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Boadu, M; Rehani, MM

Published Date

  • December 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 93 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 609 - 617

PubMed ID

  • 19783058

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-0887

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.radonc.2009.08.044


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Ireland