BreathX – Stressfree Radiotherapy



Audio-visual feedback to gently guide mamma-carcinoma patients through radiotherapy - A prototype in non-clinical setting


In Austria one in eight women is affected by mamma-carcinoma (Gnant et al., 2018). In 2017 about 5.417 new cases of mamma-carcinoma were reported (Statistik Austria, 2020). The therapy of mamma-carcinoma depends on the individual case but overall, most patients undergo a radiotherapy (Gnant et al., 2018). Nowadays left sided mamma- carcinomas are treated with the deep inspiration breath hold technique (DIBH) at the radiotherapy (Corradini, 2017).   This technique is used to minimalize the doses for the organs at risk. 

The quality of current breath-triggered radiotherapy for mamma-carcinoma patients is lacking in terms of visual and auditive feedback for the patient. An individual undergoing radiotherapy with DIBH must adjust the movement of their thorax based on an ideal breathing curve. This is to allow only a set area of the chest to be exposed to the harmful radiation dose, protecting vital body parts like heart and lungs in the process from critical side effects like myocarditis.  

The system currently in place ceases radiation treatment as soon as deviation from the pre-determined breathing curve is detected. This constant evaluation is only accessible to the radiographer but not to the patient. The prevailing lack of efficient communication creates a clinical need for improved patient feedback to increase patient safety and well-being as well as the efficiency of radiotherapy.  

The challenge is to create a system which gives helpful feedback to the person undergoing radiological treatment, in order to streamline the information exchange between radiographer and patient. 


We developed a non-clinical prototype which provides patients with audio-visual feedback during radiotherapy. This multi-sensory concept ensures a stress-free and pleasant treatment experience for left-sided mamma-carcinoma patients. Through BreathX we expect to reduce treatment time per session, improve patients compliance during radiotherapy treatment and reduce the workload for radiographers, as patients can fulfil the treatment requirements more easily. 



In the context of the evaluation of the project BreathX, two questionnaires were created with the tool Lamapoll to survey the user experience. The questionnaires were divided into “experts” and “test patients”. The test patients were further divided into people who had tested the prototype live and those who only got to know the application by watching a video. To analyse the outcomes of the questionnaires, Excel was used. Our Evaluation goal was to survey further required improvements, to enable a user-friendly, patient-centred, and supportive application that achieves a clear benefit (relaxation, support) for those affected during the radio therapeutical treatment. 

All respondents positively rated the overall project idea. Both, the experts, and the ordinary test users rated the visualization better than the audio. Especially the signal tone was criticized by both groups, and therefore should be changed/adapted. Concerning the visualization many wished for more design and individualization possibilities. The experts repeatedly stated the importance of adequate patient training before using the system.  


For further information, follow the link: BreathX Whitepaper

Artikel: 62.JG (2021) 12 –, S. 39


A project at the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences 
Master Program Digital Healthcare  
Project Coach: FH-Prof. Doppler Jakob, MSc 



  • Corradini, S., Ballhausen, H., Weingandt, H., Freislederer, P. Schönecker, S., Niyazi, M., Simonetto, C., Eidemüller, M., Ganswindt, U. & Belka, C. (2018). Left-sided breast cancer and risks of secondary lung cancer and ischemic heart disease: Effects of modern radiotherapy techniques. Springer Link.