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Ann Biomed Eng. 2010 Jan;38(1):177-86. doi: 10.1007/s10439-009-9804-0. Epub 2009 Sep 23.

Characterization of gastric electrical activity using magnetic field measurements: a simulation study.

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Auckland Bioengineering Institute, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand.


Gastric disorders are often associated with abnormal propagation of gastric electrical activity (GEA). The identification of clinically relevant parameters of GEA using noninvasive measures would therefore be highly beneficial for clinical diagnosis. While magnetogastrograms (MGG) are known to provide a noninvasive representation of GEA, standard methods for their analysis are limited. It has previously been shown in simplistic conditions that the surface current density (SCD) calculated from multichannel MGG measurements provides an estimate of the gastric source location and propagation velocity. We examine the accuracy of this technique using more realistic source models and an anatomically realistic volume conductor model. The results showed that the SCD method was able to resolve the GEA parameters more reliably when the dipole source was located within 100 mm of the sensor. Therefore, the theoretical accuracy of SCD method would be relatively diminished for patients with a larger body habitus, and particularly in those patients with significant truncal obesity. However, many patients with gastric motility disorders are relatively thin due to food intolerance, meaning that the majority of the population of gastric motility patients could benefit from the methods developed here. Large errors resulted when the source was located deep within the body due to the distorting effects of the secondary sources on the magnetic fields. Larger errors also resulted when the dipole was oriented normal to the sensor plane. This was believed to be due to the relatively small contribution of the dipole source when compared to the field produced by the volume conductor. The use of three orthogonal magnetic field components rather than just one component to calculate the SCD yielded marginally more accurate results when using a realistic dipole source. However, this slight increase in accuracy may not warrant the use of more complex vector channels in future superconducting quantum interference device designs. When multiple slow waves were present in the stomach, the SCD map contained only one maximum point corresponding to the more dominant source located in the distal stomach. Parameters corresponding to the slow wave in the proximal stomach were obtained once the dominant slow terminated at the antrum. Additional validation studies are warranted to address the utility of the SCD method to resolve parameters related to gastric slow waves in a clinical setting.

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