Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) is a technique for left-sided breast cancer patients that reduces the potential impact of radiation on the heart. The process involves holding a certain number of breaths for short bursts during treatment which allows the heart to move backwards into the chest while the breast is exposed to radiation.
How does it work?
The method requires patients with left-sided breast cancer to hold their breath for a period while treatment is administered – hence the name Deep Inspiration Breath Hold.
Taking a deep breath in, increases the amount of air in the lungs and also the distance between the heart and the area of the breast receiving radiation treatment. Increasing the distance between the radiation beams and the heart reduces the subsequent potential risk of heart injury that may present three to five years after treatment.