External respiratory motion for abdominal radiotherapy patients: implications for patient alignment

Rachel Kearvell, Martin A Ebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Conformal external beam radiotherapy relies on accurate spatial positioning of the tumor and normal tissues during treatment. For abdominal patients, this is complicated by the motion of internal organs and the external patient contour due to respiration. As external motion influences the degree of accuracy achievable in patient setup, this motion was studied to provide indication of motions occurring during treatment, as well as to assess the technique of breath-holding at exhale (B-HEX). The motion of external abdominal points (anterior and right lateral) of a series of volunteers was tracked in real-time using an infrared tracking system, with the volunteers in treatment position. The resulting motion data was assessed to evaluate (1) the change in position of each point per breath/breath-hold, (2) the change in position between breaths/breath-holds, and (3) the change in position across the whole recording time. Analysis shows that, for the anterior abdominal point, there is little difference in the variation of position with time for free-breathing as opposed to the B-HEX technique. For the lateral point however, the B-HEX technique reduces the motion during each treatment cycle (i.e., during the breath-hold) and over an extended period (i.e., during a series of breath-holds). The B-HEX technique thus provides greater accuracy for setup to lateral markers and provides the opportunity to reduce systematic and random localization errors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-22
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Dosimetry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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