Electrial Impedance Tomography (EIT) has been known and studied since early 1980s. Multiple research groups have been working on various applications including monitoring of gastric emptying, lung monitoring, lung perfusion, cardiac and neurological function. Despite the big potential of EIT technology, it still hasn’t been implemented in normal clinical practice. It appears that other methods like CT and MRI are dominant. But CT is dangerous procedure especially if there is a need for constant monitoring. MRI in other hand is expensive and not always accessible.
Implementing EIT measurement is really complex due to body bioelectrical properties and small signals reaching 100µV meaning that different impedance distributions can generate same results. A decade ago, technology has been improved that allows building better EIT devices that could allow monitoring patients in the intensive care unit without side effects. Recent breakthrough was made by TU Wien, the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna researchers. They included a high resolution CT images with known lung contours and other parameters in calculation model and got promising results.
Tests with animals shows that it can become a new method of monitoring in intensive care in near future.
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