Purpose: To demonstrate an objective approach to determining if a negative report from the Radiological Physics Center (RPC) of greater than 10% error is valid or has clinical significance. Methods: The discrepancy involved the clinical activity (mgRaEq) of Cs‐137 sources, some manufactured by 3M and some by Amersham. Measurements were made in the proprietary RPC Well Counter calibrated by the MD Anderson ADCL and our Well Counter (CNMC, Model 44D) calibrated by the same laboratory as well as the University of Wisconsin ADCL. In addition, we possess an Amersham Cs‐137 Check Source that had been calibrated by the UW‐ADCL in 2002. All clinical sources were checked in both Well Counters on the first visit. One clinical source and the Check Source were measured in a second visit that occurred 51 days later. Results: On the initial RPC visit, 9 of 25 sources had a minimum of an 8% discrepancy between the RPC and the Institution, with a maximum of 11%. Contributing errors included using the incorrect straw position by us, an unexplained 2.3% error in the RPC data identified 73 days post‐visit, a 2% variation in Chamber Factors for our Well Counter from the two ADCL's. When we use the 2004 value of Air Kerma Strength for the Check Source to determine a Calibration Factor of the Well Counter, all sources were within 0.5% of their decayed value established in 2002. Conclusions: This work emphasizes the value of having simple Constancy Check systems in a Quality Assurance program as ‘Accuracy’ has error bars. The disagreement in calibration data between the ADCL Laboratories, which was at the 2% maximum quoted in their Calibration Reports, is a reminder that there is uncertainty in measurements. Constancy Checks allow one to sort out discrepancies and to answer challenges to the validity of your program.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging