Whither lung EIT: where are we, where do we want to go and what do we need to get there?

Physiol Meas. 2012 May;33(5):679-94. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/33/5/679. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


Breathing moves volumes of electrically insulating air into and out of the lungs, producing conductivity changes which can be seen by electrical impedance tomography (EIT). It has thus been apparent, since the early days of EIT research, that imaging of ventilation could become a key clinical application of EIT. In this paper, we review the current state and future prospects for lung EIT, by a synthesis of the presentations of the authors at the 'special lung sessions' of the annual biomedical EIT conferences in 2009-2011. We argue that lung EIT research has arrived at an important transition. It is now clear that valid and reproducible physiological information is available from EIT lung images. We must now ask the question: How can these data be used to help improve patient outcomes? To answer this question, we develop a classification of possible clinical scenarios in which EIT could play an important role, and we identify clinical and experimental research programmes and engineering developments required to turn EIT into a clinically useful tool for lung monitoring.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Impedance
  • Humans
  • Lung* / physiology
  • Lung* / physiopathology
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography / instrumentation
  • Tomography / methods*