Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) estimates an image of change in electrical properties within a body from stimulations and measurements at surface electrodes. There is significant interest in EIT as a tool to monitor and guide ventilation therapy in mechanically ventilated patients. In lung EIT, the EIT inverse problem is commonly linearized and only changes in electrical properties are reconstructed. Early algorithms reconstructed changes in resistivity, while most recent work using the finite element method reconstructs conductivity. Recently, we demonstrated that EIT images of ventilation can be misleading if the electrical contrasts within the thorax are not taken into account during the image reconstruction process. In this paper, we explore the effect of the choice of the reconstructed electrical properties (resistivity or conductivity) on the resulting EIT images. We show in simulation and experimental data that EIT images reconstructed with the same algorithm but with different parametrizations lead to large and clinically significant differences in the resulting images, which persist even after attempts to eliminate the impact of the parameter choice by recovering volume changes from the EIT images. Since there is no consensus among the most popular reconstruction algorithms and devices regarding the parametrization, this finding has implications for potential clinical use of EIT. We propose a program of research to develop reconstruction techniques that account for both the relationship between air volume and electrical properties of the lung and artefacts introduced by the linearization.

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Keywords electrical impedance tomography, image reconstruction, inverse problem parametrization
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1088/0967-3334/35/6/1035
Journal Physiological Measurement
Citation
Grychtol, B. (Bartłomiej), & Adler, A. (2014). Choice of reconstructed tissue properties affects interpretation of lung EIT images. Physiological Measurement, 35(6), 1035–1050. doi:10.1088/0967-3334/35/6/1035