Electrical impedance tomography compared to positron emission tomography for the measurement of regional lung ventilation: an experimental study

Crit Care. 2009;13(3):R82. doi: 10.1186/cc7900. Epub 2009 May 29.


Introduction: Electrical impedance tomography (EIT), which can assess regional lung ventilation at the bedside, has never been compared with positron-emission tomography (PET), a gold-standard to quantify regional ventilation. This experiment systematically compared both techniques in injured and non-injured lungs.

Methods: The study was performed in six mechanically ventilated female piglets. In normal lungs, tidal volume (VT) was randomly changed to 6, 8, 10 and 15 ml/kg on zero end-expiratory pressure (ZEEP), then, at VT 10 ml/kg, positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) was randomly changed to 5, 10 and 15 cmH2O. Afterwards, acute lung injury (ALI) was subsequently created in three animals by injecting 3 ml/kg hydrochloric acid into the trachea. Then at PEEP 5 cmH2O, VT was randomly changed to 8 and 12 ml/kg and PEEP of 10 and 15 cmH2O applied at VT 10 ml/kg. EIT and PET examinations were performed simultaneously. EIT ventilation (VTEIT) and lung volume (VL) were measured in the anterior and posterior area of each lung. On the same regions of interest, ventilation (VPET) and aerated lung volume (VAatten) were determined with PET.

Results: On ZEEP, VTEIT and VPET significantly correlated for global (VTEIT = VPET - 2E-13, R2 = 0.95, P < 0.001) and regional (VTEIT = 0.81VPET+7.65, R2 = 0.63, P < 0.001) ventilation over both conditions. For ALI condition, corresponding R2 were 0.91 and 0.73 (P < 0.01). Bias was = 0 and limits of agreement were -37.42 and +37.42 ml/min for global ventilation over both conditions. These values were 0.04 and -29.01 and +29.08 ml/min, respectively, for regional ventilation. Significant correlations were also found between VL and VAatten for global (VL = VAatten+1E-12, R2 = 0.93, P < 0.0001) and regional (VL = 0.99VAatten+0.92, R2 = 0.65, P < 0.001) volume. For ALI condition, corresponding R2 were 0.94 (P < 0.001) and 0.54 (P < 0.05). Bias was = 0 and limits of agreement ranged -38.16 and +38.16 ml for global ventilation over both conditions. These values were -0.24 and -31.96 to +31.48 ml, respectively, for regional ventilation.

Conclusions: Regional lung ventilation and volume were accurately measured with EIT in healthy and injured lungs and validated by simultaneous PET imaging.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / diagnostic imaging
  • Acute Lung Injury / physiopathology*
  • Animals
  • Electric Impedance*
  • Female
  • Linear Models
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pulmonary Ventilation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Swine
  • Tomography / methods*