A Calibration Technique for the Estimation of Lung Volumes in Nonintubated Subjects by Electrical Impedance Tomography

Simone Sosio, Giacomo Bellani, Silvia Villa, Ermes Lupieri, Tommaso Mauri, Giuseppe Foti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) is a bedside monitoring technique of the respiratory system that measures impedance changes within the thorax. The close correlation between variations in impedance (ΔZ) and lung volumes (Vt) is known. Unless Vt is measured by an external reference (e.g., spirometry), its absolute value (in milliliters) cannot be determined; however, measurement of Vt would be useful in nonintubated subjects. Objective: To validate a simplified and feasible calibration method of EIT, which allows estimation of Vt in nonintubated subjects. Materials and Methods: We performed a prospective study on 13 healthy volunteers. Subjects breathed 10 times in a nonexpandable "calibration balloon" with a known volume while wearing the EIT belt. The relationship between ΔZ and the balloon volume was calculated (ΔZ/Vt). Subsequently, subjects were connected to a mechanical ventilator by a mouthpiece under different settings. Vt was calculated from EIT measurements (VtEIT) by means of the ΔZ/Vt coefficient and compared with the value obtained from the ventilator (Vtflow). Results: There was a close correlation between Vtflow and VtEIT (r2 = 0.89). The fit equation was VtEIT = 0.9 × Vtflow +10.1. The highest correlation was found at positive endexpiratory pressure (PEEP) 0 (mean: VtEIT = 0.93 × Vtflow) versus PEEP 8 (mean: VtEIT = 0.8 × Vtflow), p = 0.01. No differences in the fit equation were found between pressure support ventilation (PSV) 0 and PSV 8, p = 0.50. Further analysis showed no statistically significant differences between sex, height, and BMI. Conclusion: A simple and fast EIT calibration technique enables reliable, noninvasive monitoring of Vt in nonintubated subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-197
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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