Patient training in respiratory-gated radiotherapy

Med Dosim. 2003 Spring;28(1):7-11. doi: 10.1016/S0958-3947(02)00136-X.


Respiratory gating is used to counter the effects of organ motion during radiotherapy for chest tumors. The effects of variations in patient breathing patterns during a single treatment and from day to day are unknown. We evaluated the feasibility of using patient training tools and their effect on the breathing cycle regularity and reproducibility during respiratory-gated radiotherapy. To monitor respiratory patterns, we used a component of a commercially available respiratory-gated radiotherapy system (Real Time Position Management (RPM) System, Varian Oncology Systems, Palo Alto, CA 94304). This passive marker video tracking system consists of reflective markers placed on the patient's chest or abdomen, which are detected by a wall-mounted video camera. Software installed on a PC interfaced to this camera detects the marker motion digitally and records it. The marker position as a function of time serves as the motion signal that may be used to trigger imaging or treatment. The training tools used were audio prompting and visual feedback, with free breathing as a control. The audio prompting method used instructions to "breathe in" or "breathe out" at periodic intervals deduced from patients' own breathing patterns. In the visual feedback method, patients were shown a real-time trace of their abdominal wall motion due to breathing. Using this, they were asked to maintain a constant amplitude of motion. Motion traces of the abdominal wall were recorded for each patient for various maneuvers. Free breathing showed a variable amplitude and frequency. Audio prompting resulted in a reproducible frequency; however, the variability and the magnitude of amplitude increased. Visual feedback gave a better control over the amplitude but showed minor variations in frequency. We concluded that training improves the reproducibility of amplitude and frequency of patient breathing cycles. This may increase the accuracy of respiratory-gated radiation therapy.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Movement*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Periodicity
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiration*
  • Teaching*
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Time Factors