Abdominal organ motion during inhalation and exhalation breath-holds: pancreatic motion at different lung volumes compared

Radiother Oncol. 2016 Nov;121(2):268-275. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2016.09.012. Epub 2016 Oct 20.


Purpose: Contrary to what is commonly assumed, organs continue to move during breath-holding. We investigated the influence of lung volume on motion magnitude during breath-holding and changes in velocity over the duration of breath-holding.

Materials and methods: Sixteen healthy subjects performed 60-second inhalation breath-holds in room-air, with lung volumes of ∼100% and ∼70% of the inspiratory capacity, and exhalation breath-holds, with lung volumes of ∼30% and ∼0% of the inspiratory capacity. During breath-holding, we obtained dynamic single-slice magnetic-resonance images with a time-resolution of 0.6s. We used 2-dimensional image correlation to obtain the diaphragmatic and pancreatic velocity and displacement during breath-holding.

Results: Organ velocity was largest in the inferior-superior direction and was greatest during the first 10s of breath-holding, with diaphragm velocities of 0.41mm/s, 0.29mm/s, 0.16mm/s and 0.15mm/s during BH100%, BH70%, BH30% and BH0%, respectively. Organ motion magnitudes were larger during inhalation breath-holds (diaphragm moved 9.8 and 9.0mm during BH100% and BH70%, respectively) than during exhalation breath-holds (5.6 and 4.3mm during BH30% and BH0%, respectively).

Conclusion: Using exhalation breath-holds rather than inhalation breath-holds and delaying irradiation until after the first 10s of breath-holding may be advantageous for irradiation of abdominal tumors.

Keywords: Breath-hold; MRI; Motion; Radiotherapy; Upper-abdomen.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breath Holding*
  • Diaphragm / diagnostic imaging
  • Diaphragm / physiology
  • Exhalation / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhalation / physiology*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung Volume Measurements / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreas / physiology*