A formal communication process was established and evaluated for the management of patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) receiving radiation therapy (RT). Methods to estimate dose to the CIED were evaluated for their appropriateness in the management of these patients. A retrospective, institutional review board (IRB) approved study of 69 patients with CIEDs treated with RT between 2005 and 2011 was performed. The treatment sites, techniques, and the estimated doses to the CIEDs were analyzed and compared to estimates from published peripheral dose (PD) data and three treatment planning systems (TPSs) — UMPlan, Eclipse's AAA and Acuros algorithms. When measurements were indicated, radiation doses to the CIEDs ranged from 0.01–5.06 Gy. Total peripheral dose estimates based on publications differed from TLD measurements by an average of 0.94 Gy (0.05–4.49 Gy) and 0.51 Gy (0–2.74 Gy) for CIEDs within 2.5 cm and between 2.5 and 10 cm of the treatment field edge, respectively. Total peripheral dose estimates based on three TPSs differed from measurements by an average of 0.69 Gy (0.02–3.72 Gy) for CIEDs within 2.5 cm of the field edge. Of the 69 patients evaluated in this study, only two with defibrillators experienced a partial reset of their device during treatment. Based on this study, few CIED-related events were observed during RT. The only noted correlation with treatment parameters for these two events was beam energy, as both patients were treated with high-energy photon beams (16 MV). Differences in estimated and measured CIED doses were observed when using published PD data and TPS calculations. As such, we continue to follow conservative guidelines and measure CIED doses when the device is within 10 cm of the field or the estimated dose is greater than 2 Gy for pacemakers or 1 Gy for defibrillators.
PACS number: 87.55.N-