Regional ventilation distribution determined by electrical impedance tomography: reproducibility and effects of posture and chest plane

Respirology. 2011 Apr;16(3):523-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2011.01929.x.


Background and objective: Reliable assessment of regional lung ventilation and good reproducibility of electrical impedance tomography (EIT) data are the prerequisites for the future application of EIT in a clinical setting. The aims of our study were to determine (i) the reproducibility of repeated EIT measurements and (ii) the effect of the studied transverse chest plane on ventilation distribution in different postures.

Methods: Ten healthy adult subjects were studied in three postures on two separate days. EIT and spirometric data were obtained during tidal breathing and slow vital capacity (VC) manoeuvres. EIT data were acquired in two chest planes at 13 scans/s. Reproducibility of EIT findings was assessed by Bland-Altman analysis and Pearson correlation in 16 regions of interest in each plane. Regional ventilation distribution during tidal breathing and deep expiration was determined as fractional ventilation in four quadrants of the studied chest cross-sections.

Results: Our study showed a good reproducibility of EIT measurements repeated after an average time interval of 8 days. Global tidal volumes and VCs determined by spirometry on separate days were not significantly different. Regional ventilation in chest quadrants assessed by EIT was also unaffected. Posture exerted a significant effect on ventilation distribution among the chest quadrants during spontaneous breathing and deep expiration in both planes. The spatial distribution patterns in the two planes were not identical.

Conclusions: We conclude that regional EIT ventilation findings are reproducible and recommend that the EIT examination location on the chest is carefully chosen especially during repeated measurements and follow-up.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electric Impedance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tomography / methods