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Physiol Meas. 2008 Mar;29(3):349-64. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/29/3/006. Epub 2008 Feb 22.

Video rate electrical impedance tomography of vascular changes: preclinical development.

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Dartmouth College, Thayer School of Engineering, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


Peripheral vasculature disease is strongly correlated with cardiovascular-associated mortality. Monitoring circulation health, especially in the peripheral limbs, is vital to detecting clinically significant disease at a stage when it can still be addressed through medical intervention. Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) maps the electrical properties of tissues within the body and has been used to image dynamically varying physiology, including blood flow. Here, we suggest that peripheral vasculature health can be monitored with EIT by imaging the hemodynamics of peripheral vessels and the surrounding tissues during reactive hyperemia testing. An analysis based on distinguishability theory is presented that indicates that an EIT system capable of making measurements with a precision of 50 microV may be able to detect small changes in vessel size associated with variations in blood flow. An EIT system with these precision capabilities is presented that is able to collect data at frame rates exceeding 30 fps over a broad frequency range up to 10 MHz. The system's high speed imaging performance is verified through high contrast phantom experiments and through physiological imaging of induced ischemia with a human forearm. Region of interest analysis of the induced ischemia images shows a marked decrease in conductivity over time, changing at a rate of approximately -3 x 10(-7) S m(-1) s(-1), which is the same order of magnitude as reported in the literature. The distinguishability analysis suggests that a system such as the one developed here may provide a means to characterize the hemodynamics associated with blood flow through the peripheral vasculature.

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