Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 38, Issue 12, pp 1917–1929 | Cite as

Electrical impedance tomography: the holy grail of ventilation and perfusion monitoring?

  • Steffen Leonhardt
  • Burkhard Lachmann


This review summarizes the state-of-the-art in electrical impedance tomography (EIT) for ventilation and perfusion imaging. EIT is a relatively new technology used to image regional impedance distributions in a cross-sectional area of the body. After the introduction, a brief overview of the recent history is provided followed by a review of the literature on regional ventilation monitoring using EIT. Several recently presented indices that are useful to extract information from EIT image streams are described. Selected experimental and clinical findings are discussed with respect to future routine applications in intensive care. Finally, past and ongoing research activities aimed at obtaining cardiac output and regional perfusion information from EIT image streams are summarized.


Electrical impedance tomography EIT Regional ventilation monitoring Regional perfusion monitoring 



The authors thank Laraine Visser-Isles, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for proofreading of the English manuscript. The authors gratefully acknowledge the permission to use the Dräger EIT Evaluation Kit 2 (EEK2) for unrestricted research into animals and human trials.

Conflicts of interest

S. Leonhardt discloses financial support for unrestricted research into EIT-based perfusion imaging from Dräger Medical GmbH, Lübeck, Germany. He has also received honoraria for lecturing and consulting.

Supplementary material

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134_2012_2684_MOESM2_ESM.avi (4.7 mb)
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© Copyright jointly held by Springer and ESICM 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philips Chair for Medical Information Technology, Helmholtz InstituteRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Department of AnaesthesiologyCharite Campus Virchow-Klinikum (CVK)BerlinGermany

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