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Volume 19, Number 3, 2014

Calibration of 192Ir high dose rate brachytherapy source using different calibration procedures

Shwetha Bondel, Manickham Ravikumar, Sanjay Sudhakar Supe, Buchuppudi Rekha Reddy



To calibrate Ir-192 high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy source using different calibration methods and to determine the accuracy and suitability of each method for routine calibrations.


The source calibration is an essential part of the quality assurance programme for dosimetry of brachytherapy sources. The clinical use of brachytherapy source requires an independent measurement of the air kerma strength according to the recommendations of medical physics societies.

Materials and methods

The Ir-192 HDR brachytherapy source from Gammamed plus machine (Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA) was calibrated using three different procedures, one using the well-type ionization chamber, second by the in-air calibration method and third using solid water phantoms. The reference air kerma rate (RAKR) of the source was determined using Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Medizinische Physik (DGMP) recommendations.


The RAKR determined using different calibration methods are in good agreement with the manufacturer stated value. The mean percentage variations of 0.21, −0.94, −0.62 and 0.58 in RAKR values with respect to the manufacturer quoted values were observed with the well-type chamber, in-air calibration, cylindrical phantom and slab phantom measurements, respectively.


Measurements with a well-type chamber are relatively simple to perform. For in-air measurements, the indigenously designed calibration jig provides an accurate positioning of the source and chamber with minimum scatter contribution. The slab phantom system has an advantage that no additional phantom and chamber are required other than those used for external beam therapy dosimetry. All the methods of calibration discussed in this study are effective to be used for routine calibration purposes.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2014; 19(3) : 151-156

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