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To evaluate the feasibility of using optical surface imaging (OSI) to measure the dynamic tidal volume (TV) of the human torso during free breathing.

We performed experiments to measure volume or volume change in geometric and deformable phantoms as well as human subjects using OSI. To assess the accuracy of OSI in volume determination, we performed experiments using five geometric phantoms and two deformable body phantoms and compared the values with those derived from geometric calculations and computed tomography (CT) measurements, respectively. To apply this technique to human subjects, an institutional review board protocol was established and three healthy volunteers were studied. In the human experiment, a high-speed image capture mode of OSI was applied to acquire torso images at 4–5 frames per second, which was synchronized with conventional spirometric measurements at 5 Hz. An in-house program was developed to interactively define the volume of interest (VOI), separate the thorax and abdomen, and automatically calculate the thoracic and abdominal volumes within the VOIs. The torso volume change (TV C = Δ = Δ + Δ ) was automatically calculated using full-exhalation phase as the reference. The volumetric breathing pattern (BP = Δ ) quantifying thoracic and abdominal volume variations was also calculated. Under quiet breathing, TVC should equal the tidal volume measured concurrently by a spirometer with a conversion factor (1.08) accounting for internal and external differences of temperature and moisture. Another program was implemented to control the conventional spirometer that was used as the standard.

The volumes measured from the OSI imaging of geometric phantoms agreed with the calculated volumes with a discrepancy of 0.0% ± 1.6% (range −1.9% to 2.5%). In measurements from the deformable torso/thorax phantoms, the volume differences measured using OSI imaging and CT imaging were 1.2% ± 2.1% (range −0.5% to 3.6%), with a linear regression fitting (slope = 1.02 and 2 = 0.999). In volunteers, the relative error in OSI tidal volume measurement was −2.2% ± 4.9% (range −9.2% to 4.8%) and a correlation of = 0.98 was found with spirometric measurement. The breathing pattern values of the three volunteers were substantially different from each other (BP = 0.15, 0.45, and 0.32).

This study demonstrates the feasibility of using OSI to measure breathing tidal volumes and breathing patterns with adequate accuracy. This is the first time that dynamic breathing tidal volume as well as breathing patterns is measured using optical surface imaging. The OSI-observed movement of the entire torso could serve as a new respiratory surrogate in the treatment room during radiation therapy.


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