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  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

Electrical impedance tomography at two thoracic levels provides detailed information about ventilation distribution in the cranial to caudal direction

  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 1 and
  • 1
Critical Care201014 (Suppl 1) :P173

  • Published:


  • Tidal Volume
  • Electrical Impedance Tomography
  • Regional Lung
  • Lung Ventilation
  • Peep Level


Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) is a promising new tool for bedside monitoring of regional lung ventilation. Several studies have focused on the ventilation distribution and relationship with regional lung volume on a lower, caudal lung level. However, no information is available at a higher, cranial lung level.


EIT (EIT Evaluation Kit 2; Dräger, Lübeck, Germany) was measured at cranial and caudal lung levels in 10 patients after cardiothoracic surgery. Patients were fully sedated and mechanically ventilated and a PEEP trial was performed at four PEEP levels (15, 10, 5 and 0 cmH2O).


The center of gravity index decreased after lowering the PEEP level at both the caudal and cranial lung levels (Figure 1 right). Whereas the tidal volume impedance variation divided by tidal volume increased at the cranial lung level and decreased at the caudal lung level during the step-wise reductions in PEEP (Figure 1 left).

Figure 1


During decremental PEEP steps, the ventilation distribution not only shifts from a dorsal to ventral direction, but also from the caudal to cranial direction.

Authors’ Affiliations

Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands


© BioMed Central Ltd. 2010