Physics in Medicine and Biology, 56(7), 2161–2181p. (2011) DOI:10.1088/0031-9155/56/7/017

Time series analyses of breathing patterns of lung cancer patients using nonlinear dynamical system theory

D. K. Tewatia, R. P. Tolakanahalli, B. R. Paliwal, W. A. Tomé

The underlying requirements for successful implementation of any efficient tumour motion management strategy are regularity and reproducibility of a patient's breathing pattern. The physiological act of breathing is controlled by multiple nonlinear feedback and feed-forward couplings. It would therefore be appropriate to analyse the breathing pattern of lung cancer patients in the light of nonlinear dynamical system theory. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the one-dimensional respiratory time series of lung cancer patients based on nonlinear dynamics and delay coordinate state space embedding. It is very important to select a suitable pair of embedding dimension 'm' and time delay 'τ' when performing a state space reconstruction. Appropriate time delay and embedding dimension were obtained using well-established methods, namely mutual information and the false nearest neighbour method, respectively. Establishing stationarity and determinism in a given scalar time series is a prerequisite to demonstrating that the nonlinear dynamical system that gave rise to the scalar time series exhibits a sensitive dependence on initial conditions, i.e. is chaotic. Hence, once an appropriate state space embedding of the dynamical system has been reconstructed, we show that the time series of the nonlinear dynamical systems under study are both stationary and deterministic in nature. Once both criteria are established, we proceed to calculate the largest Lyapunov exponent (LLE), which is an invariant quantity under time delay embedding. The LLE for all 16 patients is positive, which along with stationarity and determinism establishes the fact that the time series of a lung cancer patient's breathing pattern is not random or irregular, but rather it is deterministic in nature albeit chaotic. These results indicate that chaotic characteristics exist in the respiratory waveform and techniques based on state space dynamics should be employed for tumour motion management.

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