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Ranking the Influence of Tissue Conductivities on Forward-Calculated ECGs

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4 Author(s)
D. U. J. Keller ; Institute of Biomedical Engineering , Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany ; Frank M. Weber ; Gunnar Seemann ; Olaf Dossel

This paper examined the effects that different tissue conductivities had on forward-calculated ECGs. To this end, we ranked the influence of tissues by performing repetitive forward calculations while varying the respective tissue conductivity. The torso model included all major anatomical structures like blood, lungs, fat, anisotropic skeletal muscle, intestine, liver, kidneys, bone, cartilage, and spleen. Cardiac electrical sources were derived from realistic atrial and ventricular simulations. The conductivity rankings were based on one of two methods: First, we considered fixed percental conductivity changes to probe the sensitivity of the ECG regarding conductivity alterations. Second, we set conductivities to the reported minimum and maximum values to evaluate the effects of the existing conductivity uncertainties. The amplitudes of both atrial and ventricular ECGs were most sensitive for blood, skeletal muscle conductivity and anisotropy as well as for heart, fat, and lungs. If signal morphology was considered, fat was more important whereas skeletal muscle was less important. When comparing atria and ventricles, the lungs had a larger effect on the atria yet the heart conductivity had a stronger impact on the ventricles. The effects of conductivity uncertainties were significant. Future studies dealing with electrocardiographic simulations should consider these effects.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering  (Volume:57 ,  Issue: 7 )