Internal thoracic impedance monitoring: A novel method for the preclinical detection of acute heart failure

Michael Shochat, Gideon Charach, Shmuel Meyler, Mark Kazatzker, Morris Mosseri, Aaron Frimerman, Paul Rabinovich, Avraham Shotan, Simcha Meisel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Acute heart failure (AHF) evolves through two phases. In the first phase, there is interstitial congestion with no clinical sign of edema (preclinical phase); the second, during which lung alveoli begin to fill with fluid, manifests as clinically overt alveolar edema. Treatment of AHF at its preclinical phase can alleviate its clinical impact. Presently, there is no technique that detects the interstitial phase of AHF. We used a device based on a new method of lung bioimpedance measurement. The device measures internal thoracic impedance (ITI), which nearly equals inherent lung bioimpedance. This method can detect small changes in lung fluid that occur during the interstitial stage of AHF. Aim: The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and efficacy of the said new method in detecting preclinical AHF. Methods: Internal thoracic impedance and pertinent clinical parameters were monitored for 72 h in 403 patients hospitalized for an acute coronary syndrome without evidence of AHF at study entry. Results: Seventy patients developed AHF during monitoring. Internal thoracic impedance decreased in these patients by 16.4% (95% CI=-12.2% to -20.6%; P<.0001) from the baseline level at 44±15.1 min prior to the onset of lung rales. The other 333 patients had no clinical sign of AHF, and their ITI declined only by 4.5% (95% CI=2.5% to -11.5%; P=.3) compared with the baseline level. Conclusion: The new method for ITI measurement is sufficiently sensitive in detecting AHF at its preclinical stage. An ITI decrease of more than 12% heralds the appearance of clinically overt AHF and, thus, allows earlier therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-45
Number of pages5
JournalCardiovascular Revascularization Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Acute heart failure
  • Internal thoracic impedance
  • Monitoring
  • Preclinical detection
  • Pulmonary congestion


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