Wire or coated balloon? Searching for an optimal source for intravascular brachytherapy with beta emitters using (32)P as an example.

J. Lehmann, C. R. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study identifies basic dosimetric differences between two designs for intravascular brachytherapy (IVBT) in current clinical practice and ongoing trials and their clinical implications within beta emitting systems using P-32 as an example. The two designs are (i) the wire-type source, where the radioactive source material is confined to a wirelike structure within the vessel lumen, and (ii) the balloon-surface source, where the radioactive source material is distributed over a surface area (balloon-wall) which is brought in close proximity with the vessel wall. Using Monte Carlo simulations with the EGS4 code, the target coverage, the influence of centering errors, and the perturbation of the dose distribution caused by metallic stents have been compared. The radial dose fall-off in the target region was found to be steeper for balloon surface systems compared with wire systems. The inner lumen wall dose for a balloon surface source was 25% higher than that for a wirelike source (2.5 mm vessel diameter). However, the comparably shallower fall-off from wire-type systems is very sensitive to centering uncertainties. A 0.5 mm displacement, for example, will cause the dose to change by a factor of 2 at the inner vessel wall and by a factor of 1.8 at the prescription point. It is shown that the interference from metallic stents is more significant for wire-type systems than it is for balloon-surface-type systems, where double the dose variation beyond the stent at the radial prescription distance may occur. Centering uncertainties dominate the dose perturbation effects for wire-type systems. Balloon-surface-type designs show a more predictable dose distribution that features, however, a higher inner vessel surface dose. Since a direct clinical comparison of systems of both types is not likely, these findings should be considered when interpreting clinical results from treatments with either type of source and, possibly, for future source design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied clinical medical physics / American College of Medical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

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