Electrical impedance tomography to measure pulmonary perfusion: is the reproducibility high enough for clinical practice?

H J Smit, M L Handoko, A Vonk Noordegraaf, Th J C Faes, P E Postmus, P M J M de Vries, A Boonstra

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A possible clinical application of electrical impedance tomography (EIT) might be to monitor changes in the pulmonary circulation, provided the reproducibility of the EIT measurement is adequate. The purpose of this study was threefold: the intra- and inter-investigator variability of repeated measurements was investigated. Three different regions of interest (ROI) were analysed to assess the optimal ROI. Twenty-four healthy subjects and six patients were included. The Sheffield applied potential tomograph (DAS-01P, IBEES, Sheffield, UK) was used. Electrodes were attached by investigator A, and duplicate EIT measurements were performed. After detachment and 45 min of rest, the protocol was repeated by another investigator B, and afterwards by the initial investigator A. Three ROIs were analysed: whole circle, 'inner half circle' and contour. The mean difference in impedance changes between observers is presented in arbitrary units (AU) +/- SD. Finally, the influence of age, body composition and sex on the EIT result was examined. For the contour ROI, the mean difference for the intra-investigator situation was -1.44 x 10(-2) +/- 18.45 x 10(-2) AU (-0.7 +/- 9.0%), and was 5.46 x 10(-2) +/- 21.66 x 10(-2) AU (2.7 +/- 10.8%) for the inter-investigator situation. The coefficient of reproducibility of the intra- and inter-investigator reproducibility varied between 0.89 and 0.97 for all ROIs (P < 0.0001). There is a relation between impedance change and age (correlation coefficient r = -0.63, P < 0.01 for contour ROI), and between impedance change and body mass index (BMI) (r = -0.53, P < 0.05). We found a significant difference in mean impedance change between groups of males and females. In conclusion, EIT results are highly reproducible when performed by the same investigator as well as by two different investigators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-9
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiological measurement
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2003


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Composition
  • Electric Impedance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Circulation/physiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Tomography/methods

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