Volume conductor effects on the spatial resolution of magnetic fields and electric potentials from gastrointestinal electrical activity

  • L. A. Bradshaw
  • W. O. Richards
  • J. P. WikswoJr


An analysis of the relative capabilities of methods for magnetic and electric detection of gastrointestinal electrical activity is presented. The model employed is the first volume conductor model for magnetic fields from GEA to appear in the literature. A mathematical model is introduced for the electric potential and magnetic field from intestinal electrical activity in terms of the spatial filters that relate the bioelectric sources with the external magnetic fields and potentials. The forward spatial filters are low-pass functions of spatial frequency, so more superficial external fields and potentials contain less spatial information than fields and potentials near the source. Inverse spatial filters, which are reciprocals of the forward filters, are high-pass functions and must be regularised by windowing. Because of the conductivity discontinuities introduced by low-conductivity fat layers in the abdomen, the electric potentials recorded outside these layers required more regularisation than the magnetic fields, and thus, the spatial resolution of the magnetic fields from intestinal electrical activity is higher than the spatial resolution of the external potentials. In this study, two smooth muscle sources separated by 5 cm were adequately resolved magnetically, but not resolved electrically. Thus, sources are more accurately localized and imaged using magnetic measurements than using measurements of electric potential.


Magnetogastrogram Electrogastrogram Smooth muscle electrical activity 


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Copyright information

© IFMBE 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. A. Bradshaw
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • W. O. Richards
    • 2
    • 4
  • J. P. WikswoJr
    • 1
  1. 1.Living State Physics Group, Department of Physics & AstronomyVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleTennesseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Lipscomb UniversityNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryVeterans' Affairs Medical CenterNashvilleUSA

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