The continuous delivery of volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) plans is usually approximated by discrete apertures at evenly-spaced gantry angles for dose calculation purposes. This approximation can potentially lead to large dose calculation errors if the gantry angle spacings are large and/or there are large changes in the MLC apertures from one control point (CP) to the next. In this work, we developed a sliding-window (SW) method to improve VMAT dose calculation accuracy. For any 2 adjacent VMAT CPs ni and ni + 1, the dose distribution was approximated by a 2-CP SW IMRT beam with the starting MLC positions at CP ni and ending MLC positions at CP ni + 1, with the gantry angle fixed in the middle of the 2 VMAT CPs. Therefore, a VMAT beam with N CPs was approximated by a SW plan with N-1 SW beams. To validate the method, VMAT plans were generated for 10 patients in Pinnacle using 4° gantry spacing. Each plan was converted to a SW plan and dose was recalculated. Another VMAT plan, with 1° gantry spacing, was created by interpolating the original VMAT beam. The original plans were delivered on an Elekta Versa HD and measured with ArcCHECK. For both the isodose distribution and DVH, there were significant differences between the original VMAT plan and either the SW or the interpolated plan. However, they were indistinguishable between the SW and the interpolated plans. When compared with measurement, the average passing rates of the original VMAT plans were 87.3 ± 2.8% and 93.1 ± 1.0% for the 5 HN and 5 spine SBRT cases, respectively. On the other hand, the passing rates for both the VMAT1 and SW plans were above 95% for all the 10 cases studied. The dose calculation times of the original VMAT plans and the SW plans were very similar. We conclude that the proposed SW approach improves VMAT dose calculation accuracy without increase in dose calculation time.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging