Breast and Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH)

Radiation therapy has been shown to be a highly effective treatment for breast cancer. But the proximity of the left breast to the heart leaves the heart vulnerable to radiation exposure. This has been shown, in some cases, to lead to serious long-term cardiac complications¹.

Many centers are beginning to have patients use Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) to move the heart away from the breast during therapy. However, achieving this can be challenging². Patients breathe in different ways at different times and may arch their back to simulate a deep breath in. These different movements can appear similar to a patient’s true breath hold, but do not necessarily separate the heart from the breast.

AlignRT® is commonly used during DIBH to ensure radiation is only activated when the patient is in the intended position.

During a recent study at the University of North Carolina, patients were treated using AlignRT for DIBH. Of these, 0% exhibited radiation-induced abnormalities in blood flow to the heart six months after treatment³.

There are 10 published papers covering the use of AlignRT for DIBH, and accessories are available to make DIBH with AlignRT even simpler for the patient and therapist.

Learn more about AlignRT and DIBH by clicking here, and about our Real Time Coach display, to simplify patients’ breath hold, here.

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Additional Information


Access clinical papers and publications about AlignRT for breast and DIBH

For Patients

Learn the benefits of having AlignRT as part of your breast treatment.

Customer Testimonials

What our users say...

In this single institution, [in the] Phase 2 trial we were able to put on 20 patients and demonstrate that Vision RT can prevent cardiac perfusion defects.

Timothy M. Zagar MD, Assistant Professor, UNC*

Vision RT decreases both the time of breast setup for right and left breast lesions, and has really improved our accuracy. Vision RT has also improved the setup for many other disease sites … it is improving our accuracy and throughput.

Nancy Wiggers MD, Radiation Oncologist, Department Chair, Northside Hospital*

Vision RT is a good way to support the breath hold technique to reduce heart exposure to our patients with left-sided breast cancer.

Larry Marks MD, Chair of Radiation, UNC*
¹Darby et al. Risk of Ischemic Heart Disease in Women after Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer. N Engl J Med 2013; 368:987-998
²Gierga et al. A Voluntary Breath-Hold Treatment Technique for the Left Breast With Unfavorable Cardiac Anatomy Using Surface Imaging. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Dec 1;84(5):e663-8
³Zagar et al. Prospective Assessment of Deep Inspiration Breath Hold to Prevent Radiation Associated Cardiac Perfusion Defects in Patients With Left-Sided Breast Cancer J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2015 ;93:3S 2027
⁴Marks, L. B. et al. The incidence and functional consequences of RT‑associated cardiac perfusion defects. Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. 63, 214–223 (2005)
*This customer quote reports on clinical use and performance of Vision RT’s products by independent users. These are not validated by Vision RT and thus are not endorsed by Vision RT. Users of Vision RT’s products should develop and validate their own workflows consistent with clinical practice within their facility.

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