Application of the spirometer in respiratory gated radiotherapy

Med Phys. 2003 Dec;30(12):3165-71. doi: 10.1118/1.1625439.


The signal from a spirometer is directly correlated with respiratory motion and is ideal for target respiratory motion tracking. However, its susceptibility to signal drift deters its application in radiotherapy. In this work, a few approaches are investigated to control spirometer signal drift for a Bernoulli-type spirometer. A method is presented for rapid daily calibration of the spirometer to obtain a flow sensitivity function. Daily calibration assures accurate airflow measurement and also reduces signal drift. Dynamic baseline adjustment further controls the signal drift. The accuracy of these techniques was studied and it was found that the spirometer is able to provide a long-term drift-free breathing signal. The tracking error is comprised of two components: calibration error and stochastic signal baseline variation error. The calibration error is very small (1% of 3 l) and therefore negligible. The stochastic baseline variation error can be as large as 20% of the normal breathing amplitude. In view of these uncertainties, the applications of spirometers in treatment techniques that rely on breathing monitoring are discussed. Spirometer-based monitoring is noted most suitable for deep inspiration breath-hold but less important for free breathing gating techniques.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Equipment Failure Analysis / methods*
  • Humans
  • Movement*
  • Radiotherapy / instrumentation*
  • Radiotherapy / methods*
  • Radiotherapy, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Radiotherapy, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiratory Mechanics*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spirometry / instrumentation*
  • Spirometry / methods*
  • Spirometry / standards