Electrical impedance tomography imaging of the cardiopulmonary system

Curr Opin Crit Care. 2014 Jun;20(3):323-32. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000088.


Purpose of review: This review article summarizes the recent advances in electrical impedance tomography (EIT) related to cardiopulmonary imaging and monitoring on the background of the 30-year development of this technology.

Recent findings: EIT is expected to become a bedside tool for monitoring and guiding ventilator therapy. In this context, several studies applied EIT to determine spatial ventilation distribution during different ventilation modes and settings. EIT was increasingly combined with other signals, such as airway pressure, enabling the assessment of regional respiratory system mechanics. EIT was for the first time used prospectively to define ventilator settings in an experimental and a clinical study. Increased neonatal and paediatric use of EIT was noted. Only few studies focused on cardiac function and lung perfusion. Advanced radiological imaging techniques were applied to assess EIT performance in detecting regional lung ventilation. New approaches to improve the quality of thoracic EIT images were proposed.

Summary: EIT is not routinely used in a clinical setting, but the interest in EIT is evident. The major task for EIT research is to provide the clinicians with guidelines how to conduct, analyse and interpret EIT examinations and combine them with other medical techniques so as to meaningfully impact the clinical decision-making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Output
  • Critical Illness
  • Decision Making
  • Electric Impedance*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Respiratory Mechanics
  • Stroke Volume
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*