Deep Inspiration Breath Hold Technique for Breast Cancer Patients
A technique used to protect the heart and lungs during radiation treatment.
At Sharp HealthCare, we want to help you get the most effective cancer treatment while reducing your exposure to radiation. That's why we offer the deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH) technique for certain patients with breast cancer.
Deep inspiration breath hold is a technique that requires you to hold your breath for 20 to 30 seconds during treatment planning, a CT simulation scan and radiation treatment.
Why is DIBH used?
When you hold your breath, it inflates your lungs and pushes your heart away from your chest wall and the treatment area. This helps minimize any potential radiation damage to the heart.
Who should use DIBH?
Because the heart is located on the left side of the body, we only use DIBH for patients with early stage cancer in their left breast. Body type and internal anatomy also affect whether DIBH will be useful during radiation therapy. For some people, even when they breathe normally, their heart will not be in the radiation field, so DIBH won't be necessary. We will make a recommendation for DIBH use after your first planning appointment or CT simulation scan.
What to expect.
If you decide to do the deep inspiration breath hold, it helps to practice the technique before you begin actual radiation treatment. If you can't maintain holding your breath during treatment, don't worry. You can breathe freely and the radiation will be paused until you're ready to begin again.
If you have questions about the deep inspiration breath hold, please talk with your radiation oncologist.