Electrical impedance tomography

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) is a noninvasive, radiation-free monitoring tool that allows real-time imaging of ventilation. The purpose of this article is to discuss the fundamentals of EIT and to review the use of EIT in critical care patients.

Recent findings

In addition to its established role in describing the distribution of alveolar ventilation, EIT has been shown to be a useful tool to detect lung collapse and monitor lung recruitment, both regionally and on a global basis. EIT has also been used to diagnose with high sensitivity incident pneumothoraces during mechanical ventilation. Additionally, with injection of hypertonic saline as a contrast agent, it is possible to estimate ventilation/perfusion distributions.

Summary

EIT is cheap, noninvasive and allows continuous monitoring of ventilation. It is gaining acceptance as a valuable monitoring tool for the care of critical patients.

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