Electrical impedance tomography in adult patients undergoing mechanical ventilation: A systematic review☆

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The purpose of the study is to systematically review and summarize current literature concerning the validation and application of electrical impedance tomography (EIT) in mechanically ventilated adult patients.

Materials and methods:

An electronic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and the Web of Science was performed up to June 2014. Studies investigating the use of EIT in an adult human patient population treated with mechanical ventilation (MV) were included. Data extracted included study objectives, EIT details, interventions, MV protocol, validation and comparators, population characteristics, and key findings.


Of the 67 included studies, 35 had the primary objective of validating EIT measures including regional ventilation distribution, lung volume, regional respiratory mechanics, and nonventilatory parameters. Thirty-two studies had the primary objective of applying EIT to monitor the response to therapeutic MV interventions including change in ventilation mode, patient repositioning, endotracheal suctioning, recruitment maneuvers, and change in positive end-expiratory pressure.


In adult patients, EIT has been successfully validated for assessing ventilation distribution, measuring changes in lung volume, studying regional respiratory mechanics, and investigating nonventilatory parameters. Electrical impedance tomography has also been demonstrated to be useful in monitoring regional respiratory system changes during MV interventions, although existing literature lacks clinical outcome evidence.

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