How Accurate Is Inverse Electrocardiographic Mapping?: A Systematic In Vivo Evaluation [Original Articles]


Inverse electrocardiographic mapping reconstructs cardiac electrical activity from recorded body surface potentials. This noninvasive technique has been used to identify potential ablation targets. Despite this, there has been little systematic evaluation of its reliability.


Torso and ventricular epicardial potentials were recorded simultaneously in anesthetized, closed-chest pigs (n=5), during sinus rhythm, epicardial, and endocardial ventricular pacing (70 records in total). Body surface and cardiac electrode positions were determined and registered using magnetic resonance imaging. Epicardial potentials were reconstructed during ventricular activation using experiment-specific magnetic resonance imaging–based thorax models, with homogeneous or inhomogeneous (lungs, skeletal muscle, fat) electrical properties. Coupled finite/boundary element methods and a meshless approach based on the method of fundamental solutions were compared. Inverse mapping underestimated epicardial potentials >2-fold (P<0.0001).


Mean correlation coefficients for reconstructed epicardial potential distributions ranged from 0.60±0.08 to 0.64±0.07 across all methods. Epicardial electrograms were recovered with reasonable fidelity at 50% of sites (median correlation coefficient, 0.69–0.72), but variation was substantial. General activation spread was reproduced (median correlation coefficient, 0.72–0.78 for activation time maps after spatio-temporal smoothing). Epicardial foci were identified with a median location error 16 mm (interquartile range, 9–29 mm). Inverse mapping with meshless method of fundamental solutions was better than with finite/boundary element methods, and the latter were not improved by inclusion of inhomogeneous torso electrical properties.


Inverse potential mapping provides useful information on the origin and spread of epicardial activation. However the spatio-temporal variability of recovered electrograms limit resolution and must constrain the accuracy with which arrhythmia circuits can be identified independently using this approach.

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