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J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2002;4(2):265-71.

Respiratory maneuvers decrease irradiated cardiac volume in patients with left-sided breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. mhchen@partners.org


Late cardiac morbidity and mortality among left breast cancer survivors treated with radiation therapy is related to cardiac volume included in the radiation portals. To determine if respiratory maneuvers can help decrease cardiac volume included in the radiation portals for left-sided breast cancer, 17 women with breast cancer, who had undergone left breast radiation therapy, underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Cardiac volume within the radiation portals was assessed from a transverse stack of eight, 10-mm thick, contiguous slices, covering the entire heart and obtained during breathholding at (1) endtidal volume (ETid) and (2) deep inspiration. Fourteen subjects (93% of those who completed the study) had inclusion of at least a portion of their heart within the radiation portals at ETid (median: 25.9 cm3, range 4.2-119.1 cm3). In all subjects, inspiratory breathholding decreased irradiated cardiac volume [median change: -18.1 cm3 (-49%), p < or = 0.001 vs. ETid]. In 21% of patients, the entire heart could be displaced outside the radiation field with deep inspiration. Age was not correlated with change or percentage change in cardiac volume with respiratory maneuvers. We conclude that in breast cancer patients, deep inspiratory maneuvers significantly decrease irradiated cardiac volume included in the left breast radiation field. Such an approach during delivery of radiation therapy allows preservation of radiation dosage to the breast, while reducing cardiac involvement and possible associated cardiovascular toxicity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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