Respiratory motion in image-guided radiotherapy remains a challenge to the safe and effective delivery of these treatment regimens. Movement of internal organs in the abdomen due to patient breathing negatively affects imaging accuracy, particularly for the lungs and nearby organs, and can even make dose-calculations difficult in some cases. Motion during treatment also reduces the effective dosage on the tumor while exposing surrounding normal tissue to unwanted exposure to radiation.

To alleviate movement during abdominal radiotherapy, much of the radiation oncology community rely on the Elekta Active Breathing Coordinator™ (or “ABC”) which provides a consistent, repeatable patient breath hold, taken with the same volume every time. The solution allows operators to collect images during a breath hold, and irradiate during an identical breath hold, removing the effects of motion for more accurate treatment. 

One key to the successful use of the ABC system is increased patient comfort and confidence, which is achieved via proper mouthpiece fit. Aktina Medical has recently updated the design of its ABC mouthpieces to provide even greater patient comfort and flexibility. These new devices are of the highest quality, and individually packaged for one-time use after every radiotherapy session. Each ABC mouthpiece kit includes a mouthpiece itself, an air filter, nose clips and connective tubing.

The materials and design of the mouthpiece provide a comfortable seal that minimizes patient effort and stress, making its use easier for both the patient and the technician. The connection tubing includes a new swivel elbow arrangement designed to allow for optimal positioning, which again minimizes effort and stress during imaging and treatment.

The combination of comfort and flexibility built into the design of Aktina ABC mouthpieces also convey high quality and confidence to patients, minimizing any added trauma associated with radiotherapy. And because the comfortable mouthpiece also forms a reliable seal, the accuracy of the breathing volume measurement is improved. Accurate volume measurements also improves correlation between the imaging and treatment positions, which in turn improves overall treatment accuracy.

The new Aktina ABC mouthpieces are a win-win for patients and for treatment providers. Greater comfort and confidence, supporting higher imaging and treatment accuracy, has the potential to lead to better outcomes.