Measuring pacemaker dose: A clinical perspective

Matthew T. Studenski, Ying Xiao, Amy S. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Recently in our clinic, we have seen an increased number of patients presenting with pacemakers and defibrillators. Precautions are taken to develop a treatment plan that minimizes the dose to the pacemaker because of the adverse effects of radiation on the electronics. Here we analyze different dosimeters to determine which is the most accurate in measuring pacemaker or defibrillator dose while at the same time not requiring a significant investment in time to maintain an efficient workflow in the clinic. The dosimeters analyzed here were ion chambers, diodes, metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFETs), and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dosimeters. A simple phantom was used to quantify the angular and energy dependence of each dosimeter. Next, 8 patients plans were delivered to a Rando phantom with all the dosimeters located where the pacemaker would be, and the measurements were compared with the predicted dose. A cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) image was obtained to determine the dosimeter response in the kilovoltage energy range. In terms of the angular and energy dependence of the dosimeters, the ion chamber and diode were the most stable. For the clinical cases, all the dosimeters match relatively well with the predicted dose, although the ideal dosimeter to use is case dependent. The dosimeters, especially the MOSFETS, tend to be less accurate for the plans, with many lateral beams. Because of their efficiency, we recommend using a MOSFET or a diode to measure the dose. If a discrepancy is observed between the measured and expected dose (especially when the pacemaker to field edge is <10 cm), we recommend analyzing the treatment plan to see whether there are many lateral beams. Follow-up with another dosimeter rather than repeating multiple times with the same type of dosimeter. All dosimeters should be placed after the CBCT has been acquired.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-174
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Dosimetry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Defibrillator
  • Dosimetry
  • Out-of-field radiation
  • Pacemaker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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