Optimizing electrode sites for segmental bioimpedance measurements

Physiol Meas. 1999 Aug;20(3):241-50. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/20/3/302.


Recent advances in the application of bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) have indicated that a more accurate approach to the estimation of total body water is to consider the impedance of the various body segments rather than simply that of the whole body. The segmental approach necessitates defining and locating the physical demarcation between both the trunk and leg and the trunk and arm. Despite the use of anatomical markers, these points of demarcation are difficult to locate with precision between subjects. There are also technical problems associated with the regional dispersion of the current distribution from one segment (cylinder) to another of different cross-sectional area. The concept of equipotentials in line with the proximal aspects of the upper (and lower) limbs along the contralateral limbs was investigated and, in particular, the utility of this concept in the measurement of segmental bioimpedance. The variation of measured segmental impedance using electrode sites along these equipotentials was less than 2.0% for all of the commonly used impedance parameters. This variation is approximately equal to that expected from biological variation over the measurement time. It is recommended that the electrode sites, for the measurement of segmental bioelectrical impedance in humans, described herein are adopted in accordance with the proposals of the NIH Technology Assessment Conference Statement.

MeSH terms

  • Arm
  • Body Composition
  • Body Fluid Compartments*
  • Body Water*
  • Electric Impedance*
  • Electrodes
  • Humans
  • Leg