Effects of individualized electrical impedance tomography and image reconstruction settings upon the assessment of regional ventilation distribution: Comparison to 4-dimensional computed tomography in a porcine model.
Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) is a promising imaging technique for bedside monitoring of lung function. It is easily applicable, cheap and requires no ionizing radiation, but clinical interpretation of EIT-images is still not standardized. One of the reasons for this is the ill-posed nature of EIT, allowing a range of possible images to be produced-rather than a single explicit solution. Thus, to further advance the EIT technology for clinical application, thorough examinations of EIT-image reconstruction settings-i.e., mathematical parameters and addition of a priori (e.g., anatomical) information-is essential. In the present work, regional ventilation distribution profiles derived from different EIT finite-element reconstruction models and settings (for GREIT and Gauss Newton) were compared to regional aeration profiles assessed by the gold-standard of 4-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) by calculating the root mean squared error (RMSE). Specifically, non-individualized reconstruction models (based on circular and averaged thoracic contours) and individualized reconstruction models (based on true thoracic contours) were compared. Our results suggest that GREIT with noise figure of 0.15 and non-uniform background works best for the assessment of regional ventilation distribution by EIT, as verified versus 4DCT. Furthermore, the RMSE of anteroposterior ventilation profiles decreased from 2.53±0.62% to 1.67±0.49% while correlation increased from 0.77 to 0.89 after embedding anatomical information into the reconstruction models. In conclusion, the present work reveals that anatomically enhanced EIT-image reconstruction is superior to non-individualized reconstruction models, but further investigations in humans, so as to standardize reconstruction settings, is warranted.