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This paper presents a new method of solution for the inverse problem in electrocardiography using the finite element procedure. It is an application of the authors' earlier work which derived a solution method by means of an integral equation under a generalized configuration of geometry and conductivity of the torso. Based on prior geometry information, the human torso region is discretized into a series offinite elements and, then, electric fields are computed when a set of linearly independent functions chosen as a basis is imposed on the epicardial surface. The set of these forward solutions defines the forward transfer coefficients which relate epicardial to body surface potentials. By the use of the forward transfer coefficients, a constrained least-squares estimate of the epicardial potential distribution can be obtained from measured body surface potentials. The solution method is examined through numerical experiments carried out for a realistic model of the human torso. It is demonstrated that the rapid decrease in voltage far from the heart generator makes this inverse problem ill conditioned and, as a result, the accuracy of the inverse epicardial potentials calculated depends greatly upon both the signal-to-noise ratio and the number of lead points in measuring the body surface potentials.
Date of Publication: Sept. 1984