Noninvasive reconstruction of cardiac electrical activity: update on current methods, applications and challenges

Neth Heart J. 2015 Jun;23(6):301-11. doi: 10.1007/s12471-015-0690-9.


Electrical activity at the level of the heart muscle can be noninvasively reconstructed from body-surface electrocardiograms (ECGs) and patient-specific torso-heart geometry. This modality, coined electrocardiographic imaging, could fill the gap between the noninvasive (low-resolution) 12-lead ECG and invasive (high-resolution) electrophysiology studies. Much progress has been made to establish electrocardiographic imaging, and clinical studies appear with increasing frequency. However, many assumptions and model choices are involved in its execution, and only limited validation has been performed. In this article, we will discuss the technical details, clinical applications and current limitations of commonly used methods in electrocardiographic imaging. It is important for clinicians to realise the influence of certain assumptions and model choices for correct and careful interpretation of the results. This, in combination with more extensive validation, will allow for exploitation of the full potential of noninvasive electrocardiographic imaging as a powerful clinical tool to expedite diagnosis, guide therapy and improve risk stratification.