News | June 23, 2015

ECRI Institute Offers Guidance on Choosing a Linear Accelerator

Extensive survey finds most users value ease of use and functionality, prefer bundling systems

ECRI Institute, linear accelerators, linac, purchase, survey

June 23, 2015 - The ECRI Institute released a new techIQ brief on key factors to consider when purchasing a linear accelerator (linac) for external beam radiation therapy. The report is a compilation of results from a survey of hundreds of users of linac-based radiosurgery systems; participants were asked to rate the functions and features of the four major linac vendors: Accuray, Brainlab, Elekta and Varian Medical Systems.

Among the factors considered were:

  • Ease of use;
  • Functionality;
  • Reliability;
  • Siting requirements;
  • Implementation;
  • Service;
  • Vendor support;
  • Training; and
  • Cost

 

According to the survey results, the linac models with the highest overall ratings scored the highest for ease of use, functionality, imaging capabilities and device interoperability.

ECRI also sought to determine the different ways that linacs are employed. The survey found that nearly half of all respondents typically utilize their linac for both standard radiotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery.

Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed use a treatment planning system and linac from the same manufacturer, and 47 percent use an oncology information system that is also sold by the linac manufacturer. This bundling of systems and services has been a growing trend in the marketplace over the past few years, offering benefits such as higher equipment discounts, reduced training expenses and coinciding service contracts.

The ECRI Institute is an independent nonprofit organization that conducts research into the most effective approaches for improving patient care.  

For more information: www.ecri.org

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Gadolinium-enhanced MRI of a cardiac radiation therapy patient at baseline (left) and 3 months post-treatment (right). Top: the left ventricle with patchy, gadolinium-enhanced scar was transmurally targeted with a radiation ose of 25 Gy between 3 and 6 o’clock (red brackets). Nonenhanced, remote myocardium is adjacent to target region (white arrowhead). Bottom: surviving nonenhanced myocardium within the same images is visible in the targeted region at baseline and 3 months post-treatment (yellow outline).

Gadolinium-enhanced MRI of a cardiac radiation therapy patient at baseline (left) and 3 months post-treatment (right). Top: the left ventricle with patchy, gadolinium-enhanced scar was transmurally targeted with a radiation ose of 25 Gy between 3 and 6 o’clock (red brackets). Nonenhanced, remote myocardium is adjacent to target region (white arrowhead). Bottom: surviving nonenhanced myocardium within the same images is visible in the targeted region at baseline and 3 months post-treatment (yellow outline). See more figures from this study.

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