Quantitative Approach to Failure Mode and Effect Analysis for Linear Accelerator Quality Assurance.
PURPOSE: To determine clinic-specific linear accelerator quality assurance (QA) TG-142 test frequencies, to maximize physicist time efficiency and patient treatment quality. METHODS AND MATERIALS: A novel quantitative approach to failure mode and effect analysis is proposed. Nine linear accelerator-years of QA records provided data on failure occurrence rates. The severity of test failure was modeled by introducing corresponding errors into head and neck intensity modulated radiation therapy treatment plans. The relative risk of daily linear accelerator QA was calculated as a function of frequency of test performance. RESULTS: Although the failure severity was greatest for daily imaging QA (imaging vs treatment isocenter and imaging positioning/repositioning), the failure occurrence rate was greatest for output and laser testing. The composite ranking results suggest that performing output and lasers tests daily, imaging versus treatment isocenter and imaging positioning/repositioning tests weekly, and optical distance indicator and jaws versus light field tests biweekly would be acceptable for non-stereotactic radiosurgery/stereotactic body radiation therapy linear accelerators. CONCLUSIONS: Failure mode and effect analysis is a useful tool to determine the relative importance of QA tests from TG-142. Because there are practical time limitations on how many QA tests can be performed, this analysis highlights which tests are the most important and suggests the frequency of testing based on each test's risk priority number.
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