Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) solves an inverse problem to estimate the conductivity distribution within a body from electrical simulation and measurements at the body surface, where the inverse problem is based on a solution of Laplace's equation in the body. Most commonly, a finite element model (FEM) is used, largely because of its ability to describe irregular body shapes. In this paper, we show that simulated variations in the positions of internal nodes within a FEM can result in serious image artefacts in the reconstructed images. Such variations occur when designing FEM meshes to conform to conductivity targets, but the effects may also be seen in other applications of absolute and difference EIT. We explore the hypothesis that these artefacts result from changes in the projection of the anisotropic conductivity tensor onto the FEM system matrix, which introduces anisotropic components into the simulated voltages, which cannot be reconstructed onto an isotropic image, and appear as artefacts. The magnitude of the anisotropic effect is analysed for a small regular FEM, and shown to be proportional to the relative node movement as a fraction of element size. In order to address this problem, we show that it is possible to incorporate a FEM node movement component into the formulation of the inverse problem. These results suggest that it is important to consider artefacts due to FEM mesh geometry in EIT image reconstruction.

Additional Metadata
Keywords anisotropy, electrical impedance tomography, finite element, image reconstruction, models
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1088/0967-3334/32/7/S07
Journal Physiological Measurement
Citation
Adler, A, & Lionheart, W.R.B. (William R.B.). (2011). Minimizing EIT image artefacts from mesh variability in finite element models. In Physiological Measurement (Vol. 32, pp. 823–834). doi:10.1088/0967-3334/32/7/S07