Electrical impedance tomography is clinically used to trace ventilation related changes in electrical conductivity of lung tissue. Estimating regional pulmonary perfusion using electrical impedance tomography is still a matter of research. To support clinical decision making, reliable bedside information of pulmonary perfusion is needed. We introduce a method to robustly detect pulmonary perfusion based on indicator-enhanced electrical impedance tomography and validate it by dynamic multidetector computed tomography in two experimental models of acute respiratory distress syndrome. The acute injury was induced in a sublobar segment of the right lung by saline lavage or endotoxin instillation in eight anesthetized mechanically ventilated pigs. For electrical impedance tomography measurements, a conductive bolus (10% saline solution) was injected into the right ventricle during breath hold. Electrical impedance tomography perfusion images were reconstructed by linear and normalized Gauss-Newton reconstruction on a finite element mesh with subsequent element-wise signal and feature analysis. An iodinated contrast agent was used to compute pulmonary blood flow via dynamic multidetector computed tomography. Spatial perfusion was estimated based on first-pass indicator dilution for both electrical impedance and multidetector computed tomography and compared by Pearson correlation and Bland-Altman analysis. Strong correlation was found in dorsoventral (r = 0.92) and in right-to-left directions (r = 0.85) with good limits of agreement of 8.74% in eight lung segments. With a robust electrical impedance tomography perfusion estimation method, we found strong agreement between multidetector computed and electrical impedance tomography perfusion in healthy and regionally injured lungs and demonstrated feasibility of electrical impedance tomography perfusion imaging.
Lung ventilation and perfusion analyses using chest imaging methods require a correct segmentation of the lung to offer anatomical landmarks for the physiological data. An automatic segmentation approach simplifies and accelerates the analysis. However, the segmentation of the lungs has shown to be difficult if collapsed areas are present that tend to share similar gray values with surrounding non-pulmonary tissue. Our goal was to develop an automatic segmentation algorithm that is able to approximate dorsal lung boundaries even if alveolar collapse is present in the dependent lung areas adjacent to the pleura. Computed tomography data acquired in five supine pigs with injured lungs were used for this purpose. First, healthy lung tissue was segmented using a standard 3D region growing algorithm. Further, the bones in the chest wall surrounding the lungs were segmented to find the contact points of ribs and pleura. Artificial boundaries of the dorsal lung were set by spline interpolation through these contact points. Segmentation masks of the entire lung including the collapsed regions were created by combining the splines with the segmentation masks of the healthy lung tissue through multiple morphological operations. The automatically segmented images were then evaluated by comparing them to manual segmentations and determining the Dice similarity coefficients (DSC) as a similarity measure. The developed method was able to accurately segment the lungs including the collapsed regions (DSCs over 0.96).
Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) can trace ventilation and perfusion related changes in electrical properties of lung tissue. So far, the ability of EIT to assess lung perfusion has been examined experimentally by electron-beam and single-photon-emission computerized tomography (CT) in healthy or globally injured lungs [1,2].