Cardiac motion and reproducibility during the breathing cycle.

PURPOSE: To reduce cardiotoxicity from breast radiotherapy (RT), innovative techniques are under investigation. Information about cardiac motion with respiration and positional reproducibility under active breathing control (ABC) is necessary to evaluate these techniques. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Patients requiring loco-regional RT for breast cancer were scanned by computed tomography using an ABC device at various breath-hold states, before and during treatment. Ten patients were studied. For each patient, 12 datasets were analyzed. Mutual information-based regional rigid alignment was used to determine the magnitude and reproducibility of cardiac motion as a function of breathing state. For each scan session, motion was quantified by evaluating the displacement of a point along the left anterior descending artery (LAD) with respect to its position at end expiration. Long-term positional reproducibility was also assessed. RESULTS: Displacement of the LAD was greatest in the inferior direction, moderate in the anterior direction, and lowest in the left-right direction. At shallow breathing states, the average displacement of LAD position was up to 6 mm in the inferior direction. The maximum displacement in any patient was 2.8 cm in the inferior direction, between expiration and deep-inspiration breath hold. At end expiration, the long-term reproducibility (SD) of the LAD position was 3 mm in the A-P, 6 mm in the S-I, and 4 mm in the L-R directions. At deep-inspiration breath hold, long-term reproducibility was 3 mm in the A-P, 7 mm in the S-I, and 3 mm in the L-R directions. CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate the extent of LAD displacement that occurs with shallow breathing and with deep-inspiration breath hold. This information may guide optimization studies considering the effects of respiratory motion and reproducibility of cardiac position on cardiac dose, both with and without ABC.

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