What is deep inspiration breath-hold?

DIBH (deep inspiration breath-hold) is an effective method of limiting radiation exposure to the heart and lungs. It is particularly useful for treating patients with left-sided breast cancer, as well as those with thoracic and abdominal cancer.

As well as pushing the treatment area away from nearby vital organs, DIBH eliminates movement caused by breathing. This means a more precise area can be treated and more radiation can be delivered to tumours in the lungs, liver, pancreas and breast.

The breath-hold equipment used by Cancer Partners UK, allows patients to be in control of their breathing at all times. If for any reason a patient can’t hold their breath, they are able to breathe freely and the delivery of radiotherapy is stopped. Treatment will only be resumed when the patient is ready.

Patients who are referred for DIBH will have their lung capacity and natural breathing cycle measured so that a comfortable breath-hold capacity can be set. During DIBH, the patient uses a mouth-piece and wears a pair of video goggles which displays their breathing cycle and shows them when they need to inhale and hold their breath.

The deep inspiration breath-hold baseline values are tailored for each individual patient during an initial visit (sometimes called a training visit). This is set at a level where the patient can comfortably hold their breath for 20 to 30 seconds. The patient is in control of their treatment at all times and the 3D imaging and treatment delivery is broken into segments usually lasting 20 to 30 seconds as necessary.

Patients who are unsuitable for DIBH can be assured that by combining other technologies such as intensity modulated radiotherapy and daily image guided radiotherapy they will be provided with the most precisely targeted treatment for their specific situation.

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Patient literature

Download the
Cancer Partners UK
breath hold brochure.