Research update on Impedance Tomography in Biomedical imaging

Tomographic image of lungsTomographic image of lungs taken with the EIT chest belt developed at CSEM. At the start of inhalation, the lungs are not visible (reference image). Following the inhalation cycle, the lungs filled with air appear in blue (indication of an air-filled, hence less conductive, material).

A thesis on the use of electrical impedance tomography (EIT) for noninvasive patient monitoring argues for the development of an EIT device suitable for large-scale commercialisation. Completed by Pascal Olivier Gaggero at the Swiss private research centre CSEM and University of Neuchâtel, the thesis reportedly represents a significant step forward in the clinical use of EIT.

EIT calculates an image of the spatial distribution of electrical conductivity inside the body based on electrical stimulations and voltage measurements performed on the body’s surface. The noninvasive technique captures tomographic images without the use of ionising radiation, such as X-rays.

The primary current medical application of EIT is in respiratory and cardiac monitoring with the aim of optimising mechanical ventilation therapy. Although this technique is not new, it has not been used in clinical practice on a large scale, mainly because of a lack of appropriate instrumentation.


The thesis, which Gaggero defended on 8 July at the Faculty of Science of the University of Neuchâtel, advocates the use of active electrodes to enable greater device integration and improved quality of the acquired signals, thus promoting the development and use of EIT.

EIT electrode


The work on this doctoral thesis, developed under the guidance of professors at the University of Neuchâtel and performed within CSEM, is an example of successful collaboration and knowledge transfer between academia and industry. This process is a major factor in developing new economic activities and thus increasing industry’s capacity for innovation, notes a press release issued by CSEM.

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