Detection of brain oedema using magnetic induction tomography: A feasibility study of the likely sensitivity and detectability

Robert Merwa, Karl Hollaus, Biro Oszkar, Hermann Scharfetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


The detection and continuous monitoring of brain oedema is of particular interest in clinical applications because existing methods (invasive measurement of the intracranial pressure) may cause considerable distress for the patients. A new non-invasive method for continuous monitoring of an oedema promises the use of multi-frequency magnetic induction tomography (MIT). MIT is an imaging method for reconstructing the changes of the conductivity Δκ in a target object. The sensitivity of a single MIT-channel to a spherical oedematous region was analysed with a realistic model of the human brain. The model considers the cerebrospinal fluid around the brain, the grey matter, the white matter, the ventricle system and an oedema (spherical perturbation). Sensitivity maps were generated for different sizes and positions of the oedema when using a coaxial coil system. The maps show minimum sensitivity along the coil axis, and increasing values when moving the perturbation towards the brain surface. Parallel to the coil axis, however, the sensitivity does not vary significantly. When assuming a standard deviation of 10-7 for the relative voltage change due to the system's noise, a centrally placed oedema with a conductivity contrast of 2 with respect to the background and a radius of 20 mm can be detected at 100 kHz. At higher frequencies the sensitivity increases considerably, thus suggesting the capability of multifrequency MIT to detect cerebral oedema.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-354
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


  • Eddy currents
  • Finite elements
  • Human brain
  • Magnetic induction tomography
  • Oedema
  • Sensitivity distribution
  • Magnetics/instrumentation
  • Brain Edema/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Models, Biological
  • Computer Simulation
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography/methods


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