Deep Inspiration Breath Hold Treatment

dibh deep inspiration breath hold treatment

Dr Margaret Latham and Dr Yvonne Zissiadis (2nd and 3rd from left) at Perth Radiation Oncology in Wembley with a patient and the Wembley DIBH treatment team. DIBH is now also available at Shenton House in Joondalup.

What is Deep Inspiration Breath Hold treatment?

While radiation therapy is considered a safe and important treatment for breast cancer, it has the potential in some patients with left-sided breast cancer to cause damage to the heart in the years following treatment. This is because the planned radiation beam may come in contact with the heart. As each person’s size, shape, anatomy and tumour location differs, we are unable to know if this is the case for an individual until they have had their CT planning scan.

If the heart does fall within the planned radiation field, radiation oncologists can use various techniques to minimise the risk of the radiation beam intersecting a portion of the heart. Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) is the most efficient, safe and simple of these techniques.

What happens during treatment?

Treatment is delivered using technology that is programmed to match each patient’s breathing cycle. This treatment is known as 'Deep Inspiration Breath Hold'.

When a patient holds their breath, there is an increase in the natural space between the heart and the radiation dose. Patients only need to be able to hold their breath for a short period (around 20 – 30 seconds) several times during treatment.

The specialised equipment will only allow the treatment machine to deliver radiation whilst the patient is holding their breath.

Comparison between free breathing and DIBH -

free breathe vs deep inspiration breath hold

Figure 1 (Above left): Free breathing – the radiation beam comes close to the heart
Figure 2 (Above right): Deep inspiration breath hold – the heart remains outside radiation field

The patient is in control

The patient can simply talk to our team, or use a small hand held controller if, at any time, they wish to stop treatment. This gives the patient the unique opportunity to be in complete control.

Read more from a patient’s perspective here

Why consider DIBH?

  • Most efficient technique to reduce the risk of radiation to the heart in left-sided breast cancer
  • Complete control and the option to stop at any time
  • Non-invasive and suitable for almost everyone

To enquire about whether Deep Inspiration Breath Hold is the right for you, contact our specialised team at GenesisCancerCare WA - 1300 977 062

GenesisCare is committed to high quality patient-centred care, and provides Deep Inspiration Breath Hold to all eligible patients in Australia and the United Kingdom.

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Genesis Logo Small.pngGenesisCare is Australia’s leading provider of radiation oncology, cardiology and sleep treatments. We exist to fill the treatment gap for the biggest disease burdens in Australia - cancer and heart care - in an environment of substantial unmet demand from an ageing population. Click here to learn more