Selected Applications of Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis: Body Fluids, Blood Volume, Body Cell Mass and Fat Mass

  • Alexander Stahn
  • Elmarie Terblanche
  • Hanns-Christian Gunga


This chapter is intended as a practice-oriented complement to the introduction of the basic concepts of bioimpedance measurements in the chapter Use of bioelectrical impedance: general principles and overview. The present chapter focuses on selected applications of bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) for body composition analysis in health and disease. Various techniques and models are introduced in detail and summarized in a discussion about the potentials and limits of BIA. The chapter begins with a brief overview of the historical developments of BIA applications. The following section introduces a range of body composition applications such as measurements of intra- and extracellular water as well as fat mass, body cell mass, and blood volume. In addition to discussing the role of the basic BIA model in these applications, recent alternative developments that show promise for future research are addressed wherever applicable. This includes a discussion underlying the developments from single-frequency to multi-frequency BIA to finally bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS). It also covers the potential advances of purely descriptive models that are statistically derived compared to rather explanatory, biophysical models that do not rely on calibrations of the target quantity by regression techniques. The most popular approach of the latter is the use of Hanai’s mixture theory and its original approach plus its most recent advances are therefore discussed in detail. This is written in an accessible way, so that also the novice reader will be provided with a basic understanding of the technique to implement it in future applications. The chapter finally discusses the potentials and limits of the applications and models introduced, gives an outlook for future research, and concludes with recommendations regarding the use of BIA/BIS in practice.


Apparent Resistivity Total Body Water Bioelectrical Impedance Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Fluid Compartment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Latin letters (boldface letters denote complex numbers)


Area (m2)


Body cell mass (kg)


Bioelectrical impedance analysis


Bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy


Body mass (kg)


Body mass index (kg·m–2)


Extracellular water (L)


Frequency (Hz)


Characteristic frequency (Hz)


Fat free mass (kg)


Fat mass (kg)


Percentage fat mass (%)


Height (m)


Intracellular water (L)


Length (m)




Resistance (Ω)


Resistance at zero frequency (Ω)


Resistance at infinite frequency (Ω)


Extracellular resistance (Ω)


Intracellular resistance (Ω)


Total body water (L)


General volume (L)


Capacitive reactance (Ω)


General impedance (magnitude) (Ω)

Greek letters (boldface letters denote complex numbers)


Resistivity (Ω·m)




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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Stahn
    • 1
  • Elmarie Terblanche
  • Hanns-Christian Gunga
  1. 1.Center for Space Medicine Berlin, Department of Physiology, Campus Benjamin FranklinCharité University Medicine BerlinBerlinGermany

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