Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH)

Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) is a technique used to treat left sided breast and chest wall cancers. The purpose of DIBH is to reduce the possible radiation dose to the heart and lungs. It works by expanding the lungs through deep breath holds which increases the distance between the tumour and the heart. This increase in distance reduces the amount of radiation the heart and lungs receives which helps minimise any long term side effects.

At NTRO we use the Elekta Active Breathing Coordinator (ABC) to help control breathing and achieve consistent breath holds. You will be given a snorkel and a nose peg to help guide your breathing and a button to hold that will allow you to control the process. During treatment and with the help of ABC you will hold your breath for short amounts of time, usually around 25 seconds, and during that time your treatment will be delivered. The ABC system is directly linked to the Linear Accelerator (Linac) so your treatment will only start when everything is ready and you’re correctly in breath hold. This might seem a bit overwhelming to begin with but don’t worry, the treatment staff will coach you through the process and make sure you’re comfortable before getting started.