Deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH)

Deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH) is a technique that can be used to treat cancer in the breast, chest wall or occasionally the abdomen.

During DIBH, you take a deep breath during your treatment and hold it while the radiotherapy is delivered. Holding your breath fills your lungs with air and creates a larger space between your heart and the radiotherapy. This means there is less chance of damage to your heart and lungs.

As everyone's bodies are different shapes and sizes, we won’t know if you need to use DIBH until you have had your first planning CT scan. For some people, even when breathing normally, their heart will not be in the radiotherapy field. If you are one of these people, you won't need to use DIBH.

If you do need to use DIBH, we will only deliver treatment when you are ready and in control of the DIBH process. When you take a breath, the treatment automatically pauses. It will only resume when you are ready.

Last updated: March 2023