Electrogastrograms (EGG) and magnetogastrograms (MGG) provide two complementary methods for non-invasively recording electric or magnetic fields resulting from gastric electrical slow wave activity. It is known that EGG signals are relatively weak and difficult to reliably record while magnetic fields are, in theory, less attenuated by the low-conductivity fat layers present in the body. In this paper, we quantified the effects of fat thickness and conductivity values on resultant magnetic and electric fields using anatomically realistic torso models and trains of dipole sources reflecting recent experimental results. The results showed that when the fat conductivity was increased, there was minimal change in both potential and magnetic fields. However, when the fat conductivity was reduced, the magnetic fields were largely unchanged, but electric potentials had a significant change in patterns and amplitudes. When the thickness of the fat layer was increased by 30 mm, the amplitude of the magnetic fields decreased 10% more than potentials but magnetic field patterns were changed about four times less than potentials. The ability to localize the underlying sources from the magnetic fields using a surface current density measure was altered by less than 2 mm when the fat layer was increased by 30 mm. In summary, results confirm that MGG provides a favorable method over EGG when there are uncertain levels of fat thickness or conductivity.
© 2012 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine