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The conductance-volume method is an important clinical tool which allows the assessment of left ventricular function in vivo. However, the accuracy of this method is limited by the homogeneity of electric field the conductance catheter produces and the parallel conductance of surrounding structures. This paper examines these sources of error in volumes seen clinically, The characteristics of electric field within a chamber were examined using computer simulation. Nonconductive and conductive models were constructed and experimental measurements obtained using both single-field (SF) and dual-field (DF) excitation. Results from computer simulations and in vitro measurements were compared to validate the proposed theoretical model of conductance-volume method. The effects of field homogeneity and significance of parallel conductance in volume measurement were then determined. The results of this study show that DF provide a more accurate measure of intraventricular volume than SF, especially at larger volumes. However, both significantly underestimate true volume at larger volumes. In addition, the parallel conductance due to the chamber wall is significant at small volumes, but diminishes at larger volumes. Furthermore, the effect of parallel conductance beyond the chamber wall may be negligible. This study demonstrates the limitations in applying current conductance technology to patients with dilated hearts.
Date of Publication: April 1997