Electrical Impedance Tomography


Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) is a medical imaging technique which can be applied to visualize changes in ventilation distribution. Therefore, an array of surface electrodes is attached circumferentially around the patient's thorax. Subsequently, small alternating currents are injected into the patient's body and resulting voltages on the surface of the thorax are measured. Afterwards, mathematical reconstruction methods are employed to generate tomographic images on the basis of these measured voltages, depicting the current ventilation state of the patient's lungs.

Current research at ITeM

EIT has already shown promising results for mechanically ventilated patients in the intensive care unit. Current research at ITeM focuses on its further use in this field but as well on the application of EIT in spontaneously breathing patients with obstructive lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma or cystic fibrosis. A multidisciplinary team, consisting of mathematicians, engineers and biologists, develops methods for image reconstruction and signal processing in order to provide relevant information for physicians and other clinical staff.

The main topics are:

  • Incorporating information of other medical devices (e.g. spirometry, x-ray computed imaging) into the image reconstruction process of EIT
  • Further development of EIT to become a 3D imaging technology to gain additional information about the patients lung conditions
  • Development of novel fast image reconstruction algorithms which are suitable for 3D image reconstruction
  • Investigation of features in the usage of EIT in patients with obstructive lung diseases
  • Development of routines and algorithms to facilitate interpretation of EIT data in a clinical context