Until now, electrical impedance tomography (EIT) has been used for cardiac imaging with the electrodes attached transversally at the level of the fourth intercostal space at the anterior side. However, the results obtained with this electrode configuration have been disappointing. The aim of the present study was to improve the measurement design of EIT for cardiac imaging. Therefore, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were analysed in two healthy subjects to determine the optimum anatomical plane in which atria and ventricles are clearly visually separated. From these findings, we proposed a new oblique plane at the level of the ictus cordis anteriorly and 10 cm higher posteriorly. EIT pictures obtained in the oblique plane revealed a better visual separation between the ventricles and atria than with the electrodes attached in the transverse plane. Comparison between volume changes measured by means of MRI and impedance changes in different regions of interest measured with EIT were performed with the electrodes in the proposed oblique plane. Ventricular and atrial volume changes measured by MRI show the same pattern as do impedance changes measured by EIT. Furthermore, we assessed the reproducibility and validity of the oblique electrode configuration in ten healthy male volunteers during rest and during exercise compared with the currently used transverse electrode configuration. The reproducibility coefficient assessed from repeated measurements with the electrodes attached in the oblique plane was 0.98 at rest and 0.85 during exercise. For the transverse plane the reproducibility coefficient was 0.96 at rest and 0.66 during exercise. The well-known increase in stroke volume during exercise is 40% in healthy subjects. The increase in impedance change during exercise compared with rest was 34 ± 13% (20-59%) for the oblique plane and 68 ± 57% (13-140%) for the transverse plane. From these results we infer that the stroke volume is assessed more accurately by using the oblique plane. From these findings, we conclude that the oblique plane improved the cardiac measurements, because (i) a better spatial separation of the heart compartments is obtained, (ii) the results are more reliable and (iii) measurements during exercise are more accurate with the electrodes attached in an oblique plane.