PURPOSE: To describe a new method to estimate the mean heart dose for Hodgkin lymphoma patients treated several decades ago, using delineation of the heart on radiation therapy simulation X-rays. Mean heart dose is an important predictor for late cardiovascular complications after Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) treatment. For patients treated before the era of computed tomography (CT)-based radiotherapy planning, retrospective estimation of radiation dose to the heart can be labor intensive. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Patients for whom cardiac radiation doses had previously been estimated by reconstruction of individual treatments on representative CT data sets were selected at random from a case-control study of 5-year Hodgkin lymphoma survivors (n=289). For 42 patients, cardiac contours were outlined on each patient's simulation X-ray by 4 different raters, and the mean heart dose was estimated as the percentage of the cardiac contour within the radiation field multiplied by the prescribed mediastinal dose and divided by a correction factor obtained by comparison with individual CT-based dosimetry. RESULTS: According to the simulation X-ray method, the medians of the mean heart doses obtained from the cardiac contours outlined by the 4 raters were 30 Gy, 30 Gy, 31 Gy, and 31 Gy, respectively, following prescribed mediastinal doses of 25-42 Gy. The absolute-agreement intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.93 (95% confidence interval 0.85-0.97), indicating excellent agreement. Mean heart dose was 30.4 Gy with the simulation X-ray method, versus 30.2 Gy with the representative CT-based dosimetry, and the between-method absolute-agreement intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.87 (95% confidence interval 0.80-0.95), indicating good agreement between the two methods. CONCLUSION: Estimating mean heart dose from radiation therapy simulation X-rays is reproducible and fast, takes individual anatomy into account, and yields results comparable to the labor-intensive representative CT-based method. This simpler method may produce a meaningful measure of mean heart dose for use in studies of late cardiac complications.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys

Publication Date





153 - 160


Adolescent, Adult, Case-Control Studies, Female, Heart, Hodgkin Disease, Humans, Lymph Nodes, Male, Middle Aged, Observer Variation, Organs at Risk, Radiation Dosage, Reproducibility of Results, Spleen, Survivors, Young Adult