Novel Use of Biphasic Cuirass Ventilation During Definitive Radiation Therapy: A Technical Report

William Clinkscales, Matthew Spence, John Gleysteen, Neil Hayes, Enrique Izaguirre, Daniel Wakefield, David Schwartz, Isaac Rhea, Cristobal Risquez, Ankur M. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The use of biphasic cuirass ventilator supported radiation therapy has never been documented. We present the first technical report here. A 57-year-old man with obstructive sleep apnea presented with a T0N1M0 right sided, human papillomavirus related head and neck cancer diagnosed on excisional lymph node biopsy. On further workup, the cancer was found to have originated in the right tonsil and was staged as T1N1. The patient started definitive treatment with concurrent chemo-radiation therapy, but after 5 treatments was no longer able to lay in a supine position for treatment. Diagnostic imaging workup eventually revealed an idiopathic right sided hemi-diaphragm eventration. After consultation with cardiology, pulmonology, and head and neck surgery, recommendation was made for tracheostomy to tolerate supine radiotherapy position, but the patient refused. Instead, computed tomography simulation for radiotherapy replanning was performed using a combination of biphasic cuirass ventilation, home continuous positive airway pressure and oxygen. The patient then tolerated definitive treatment to a dose of 69.96 Gray in 33 fractions with concurrent chemotherapy and experienced no unexpected side effects. Although complex, daily treatment setup was consistent. Daily onboard imaging was precise and accurate. The patient continues to follow up with radiation oncology, medical oncology, and pulmonology. This is the first use of biphasic cuirass ventilator supported radiotherapy reported in the scientific literature. Although daily treatment setup is complex, its use could be considered in patients unable to tolerate radiation therapy treatment positioning as an alternative to tracheostomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e276-e281
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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