Electrical impedance tomography in the assessment of extravascular lung water in noncardiogenic acute respiratory failure

Chest. 1999 Dec;116(6):1695-702. doi: 10.1378/chest.116.6.1695.


Study objectives: To establish the value of electrical impedance tomography (EIT) in assessing pulmonary edema in noncardiogenic acute respiratory failure (ARF), as compared to the thermal dye double indicator dilution technique (TDD).

Design: Prospective clinical study.

Setting: ICU of a general hospital.

Patients: Fourteen ARF patients.

Interventions: In order to use the TDD to determine the amount of extravascular lung water (EVLW), a fiberoptic catheter was placed in the femoral artery.

Measurements and main results: Fourteen consecutive ARF patients receiving mechanical ventilation were measured by EIT and TDD. EIT visualizes the impedance changes caused by the ventilation in two-dimensional image planes. An impedance ratio (IR) of the ventilation-induced impedance changes of a posterior and an anterior part of the lungs was used to indicate the amount of EVLW. For the 29 measurements in 14 patients, a significant correlation between EIT and TDD (r = 0. 85; p < 0.001) was found. The EIT reproducibility was good. The diagnostic value of the method was tested by receiver operator characteristic analysis, with 10 mL/kg of EVLW considered as the upper limit of normal. At a cutoff level of the IR of 0.64, the IR had a sensitivity of 93%, a specificity of 87%, and a positive predictive value of 87% for a supranormal amount of EVLW. Follow-up measurements were performed in 11 patients. A significant correlation was found between the changes in EVLW measured with EIT and TDD (r = 0.85; p < 0.005).

Conclusion: We conclude that EIT is a noninvasive technique for reasonably estimating the amount of EVLW in noncardiogenic ARF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Dye Dilution Technique
  • Electric Impedance
  • Extravascular Lung Water*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Respiratory Insufficiency*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity