A groundbreaking technique—and an extra layer of protection for your heart.


Deep Inspiration Breath Hold

The deep inspiration breath hold method can help make radiation therapy safer for women who have cancer in their left breast.

Deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH) is a technique used to synchronize the delivery of radiation with a patient's breathing. Precision technology allows the radiation beam to be turned on and off based on the position of your chest when you take, hold, and release a deep breath.

Radiation therapy targets tumors—but it can also impact nearby healthy tissue. Because the left breast and the heart are very close together, there is a risk that healthy heart tissue could be damaged during breast cancer radiation treatment. This damage can lead to heart problems in the future.

With DIBH, radiation is only delivered to the tumor when the breast tissue and heart tissue are furthest apart—when you have taken a deep breath. This reduces the amount of radiation to the heart.

Treatment is Unique for Every Patient
It is important to remember that every patient—and every cancer—is unique. This means that your doctor will look at whether DIBH is appropriate for your customized treatment plan. If DIBH is not right or necessary for you, your doctor will share why and explain which approach to treatment is best—and safest—for you.

If your treatment plan for cancer includes radiation therapy with DIBH, your doctors and radiation therapists will guide you through the treatment planning process. During this time, your care team will use a CT scan and sophisticated sensors to track your breathing. These measurements will be used during treatment to ensure that radiation is only delivered when you have taken a deep breath in and your heart is out of the way of the radiation beam. 

Throughout each treatment, your team of radiation therapists will be available for support and guidance.

If DIBH will be a part of your cancer treatment—or the treatment of a loved one—you will receive education, instructions, and support before, during, and after therapy. Your doctors, nurses, and radiation therapists will be able to answer any specific questions you may have. 

Contact Our Radiation Oncology Team
Call 860-358-2100

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