Non-invasive determination of absolute lung resistivity in adults using electrical impedance tomography

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Lung resistivity is a physiological parameter that describes the electrical characteristics of the lungs. Lung composition changes due to changes in the lung tissues, fluid and air volume. Various diseases that can cause a change in lung composition may be monitored by measuring lung resistivity. Currently, there is no accepted non-invasive method to measure lung resistivity. In this study, we presented a method and framework to non-invasively determine lung resistivity using electrical impedance tomography (EIT). By comparing actual measurements from subjects with data from a 3D human thorax model, an EIT image can be reconstructed to show a resistivity difference between the model and the subject. By adjusting the lung resistivity in the model, the resistivity difference in the lung regions can be reduced to near zero. This resistivity value then is the estimation of the lung resistivity of the subject. Using the proposed method, the lung resistivities of four normal adult males (43 ±13 years, 78 ± 10 kg) in the supine position at air volumes starting at functional residual capacity (FRC-end expiration) and increasing in 0.5 l steps to 1.5 l were studied. The averaged lung resistivity changes 12.59%, from 1406 Ω cm to 1583 Ω cm, following the inspiration of 1.5 l air from FRC. The coefficients of variation (CV) of precision for the four subjects are less than 10%. The experiment was repeated five times at each air volume on a subject to test the reproducibility. The CVs are less than 3%. The results show that it is feasible to determine absolute lung resistivity using an EIT-based method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010


  • EIT
  • Lung resistivity
  • Thorax model


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