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Although defibrillation has been in clinical use for more than 50 years, the complete current flow distribution inside the body during a defibrillation procedure has never been directly measured. This is due to the lack of appropriate imaging technology to noninvasively monitor the current flow inside the body. The current density imaging (CDI) technique, using a magnetic resonance (MR) imager, provides a new approach to this problem [Scott et al. (1991)]. CDI measures the local magnetic field generated by the current and calculates the current density by computing its curl. In this study, CDI was used to measure current density at all points within a postmortem pig torso during an electrical current application through defibrillation electrodes. Furthermore, current flow information was visualized along the chest wall and within the chest cavity using streamline analysis. As expected, some of the highest current densities were observed in the chest wall. However, current density distribution varied significantly from one region to another, possibly reflecting underlying heterogeneous tissue conductivity and anisotropy. Moreover, the current flow analysis revealed many complex and unexpected current flow patterns that have never been observed before. This study has, for the first time, noninvasively measured the volume current measurement inside the pig torso.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2003