Adverse Events Involving Radiation Oncology Medical Devices: Comprehensive Analysis of US Food and Drug Administration Data, 1991 to 2015

Michael J. Connor, Deborah C. Marshall, Vitali Moiseenko, Kevin Moore, Laura Cervino, Todd Atwood, Parag Sanghvi, Arno J. Mundt, Todd Pawlicki, Abram Recht, Jona A. Hattangadi-Gluth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose Radiation oncology relies on rapidly evolving technology and highly complex processes. The US Food and Drug Administration collects reports of adverse events related to medical devices. We sought to characterize all events involving radiation oncology devices (RODs) from the US Food and Drug Administration's postmarket surveillance Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database, comparing these with non–radiation oncology devices. Methods and Materials MAUDE data on RODs from 1991 to 2015 were sorted into 4 product categories (external beam, brachytherapy, planning systems, and simulation systems) and 5 device problem categories (software, mechanical, electrical, user error, and dose delivery impact). Outcomes included whether the device was evaluated by the manufacturer, adverse event type, remedial action, problem code, device age, and time since 510(k) approval. Descriptive statistics were performed with linear regression of time-series data. Results for RODs were compared with those for other devices by the Pearson χ2 test for categorical data and 2-sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov test for distributions. Results There were 4234 ROD and 4,985,698 other device adverse event reports. Adverse event reports increased over time, and events involving RODs peaked in 2011. Most ROD reports involved external beam therapy (50.8%), followed by brachytherapy (24.9%) and treatment planning systems (21.6%). The top problem types were software (30.4%), mechanical (20.9%), and user error (20.4%). RODs differed significantly from other devices in each outcome (P<.001). RODs were more likely to be evaluated by the manufacturer after an event (46.9% vs 33.0%) but less likely to be recalled (10.5% vs 37.9%) (P<.001). Device age and time since 510(k) approval were shorter among RODs (P<.001). Conclusions Compared with other devices, RODs may experience adverse events sooner after manufacture and market approval. Close postmarket surveillance, improved software design, and manufacturer–user training may help mitigate these events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


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