Staff member


José Antonio Fiz Fernández

Senior Researcher
Biomedical Signal Processing and Interpretation
jafiz@ibecbarcelona.eu

Staff member publications

Lozano-García, M., Fiz, J. A., Martínez-Rivera, C., Torrents, A., Ruiz-Manzano, J., Jané, R., (2017). Novel approach to continuous adventitious respiratory sound analysis for the assessment of bronchodilator response PLoS ONE 12, (2), e0171455

Background A thorough analysis of continuous adventitious sounds (CAS) can provide distinct and complementary information about bronchodilator response (BDR), beyond that provided by spirometry. Nevertheless, previous approaches to CAS analysis were limited by certain methodology issues. The aim of this study is to propose a new integrated approach to CAS analysis that contributes to improving the assessment of BDR in clinical practice for asthma patients. Methods Respiratory sounds and flow were recorded in 25 subjects, including 7 asthma patients with positive BDR (BDR+), assessed by spirometry, 13 asthma patients with negative BDR (BDR-), and 5 controls. A total of 5149 acoustic components were characterized using the Hilbert spectrum, and used to train and validate a support vector machine classifier, which distinguished acoustic components corresponding to CAS from those corresponding to other sounds. Once the method was validated, BDR was assessed in all participants by CAS analysis, and compared to BDR assessed by spirometry. Results BDR+ patients had a homogenous high change in the number of CAS after bronchodilation, which agreed with the positive BDR by spirometry, indicating high reversibility of airway obstruction. Nevertheless, we also found an appreciable change in the number of CAS in many BDR- patients, revealing alterations in airway obstruction that were not detected by spirometry. We propose a categorization for the change in the number of CAS, which allowed us to stratify BDR- patients into three consistent groups. From the 13 BDR- patients, 6 had a high response, similar to BDR+ patients, 4 had a noteworthy medium response, and 1 had a low response.Conclusions In this study, a new non-invasive and integrated approach to CAS analysis is proposed as a high-sensitive tool for assessing BDR in terms of acoustic parameters which, together with spirometry parameters, contribute to improving the stratification of BDR levels in patients with obstructive pulmonary diseases.


Lozano, M., Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., (2016). Automatic differentiation of normal and continuous adventitious respiratory sounds using ensemble empirical mode decomposition and instantaneous frequency IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics 20, (2), 486-497

Differentiating normal from adventitious respiratory sounds (RS) is a major challenge in the diagnosis of pulmonary diseases. Particularly, continuous adventitious sounds (CAS) are of clinical interest because they reflect the severity of certain diseases. This study presents a new classifier that automatically distinguishes normal sounds from CAS. It is based on the multi-scale analysis of instantaneous frequency (IF) and envelope (IE) calculated after ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD). These techniques have two major advantages over previous techniques: high temporal resolution is achieved by calculating IF-IE and a priori knowledge of signal characteristics is not required for EEMD. The classifier is based on the fact that the IF dispersion of RS signals markedly decreases when CAS appear in respiratory cycles. Therefore, CAS were detected by using a moving window to calculate the dispersion of IF sequences. The study dataset contained 1494 RS segments extracted from 870 inspiratory cycles recorded from 30 patients with asthma. All cycles and their RS segments were previously classified as containing normal sounds or CAS by a highly experienced physician to obtain a gold standard classification. A support vector machine classifier was trained and tested using an iterative procedure in which the dataset was randomly divided into training (65%) and testing (35%) sets inside a loop. The SVM classifier was also tested on 4592 simulated CAS cycles. High total accuracy was obtained with both recorded (94.6% ± 0.3%) and simulated (92.8% ± 3.6%) signals. We conclude that the proposed method is promising for RS analysis and classification.

Keywords: Diseases, Dispersion, Empirical mode decomposition, Feature extraction, Informatics, Support vector machines


Lozano, Manuel, Fiz, J. A., Jané, Raimon, (2016). Performance evaluation of the Hilbert–Huang transform for respiratory sound analysis and its application to continuous adventitious sound characterization Signal Processing 120, 99-116

Abstract The use of the Hilbert–Huang transform in the analysis of biomedical signals has increased during the past few years, but its use for respiratory sound (RS) analysis is still limited. The technique includes two steps: empirical mode decomposition (EMD) and instantaneous frequency (IF) estimation. Although the mode mixing (MM) problem of EMD has been widely discussed, this technique continues to be used in many RS analysis algorithms. In this study, we analyzed the MM effect in RS signals recorded from 30 asthmatic patients, and studied the performance of ensemble EMD (EEMD) and noise-assisted multivariate EMD (NA-MEMD) as means for preventing this effect. We propose quantitative parameters for measuring the size, reduction of MM, and residual noise level of each method. These parameters showed that EEMD is a good solution for MM, thus outperforming NA-MEMD. After testing different IF estimators, we propose Kay׳s method to calculate an EEMD-Kay-based Hilbert spectrum that offers high energy concentrations and high time and high frequency resolutions. We also propose an algorithm for the automatic characterization of continuous adventitious sounds (CAS). The tests performed showed that the proposed EEMD-Kay-based Hilbert spectrum makes it possible to determine CAS more precisely than other conventional time-frequency techniques.

Keywords: Hilbert–Huang transform, Ensemble empirical mode decomposition, Instantaneous frequency, Respiratory sounds, Continuous adventitious sounds


Solà-Soler, J., Giraldo, B. F., Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., (2016). Study of phase estimation methods to analyse cardiorespiratory synchronization in OSA patients Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Orlando, USA) , 4280-4283

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder highly prevalent in the general population. Cardiorespiratory Phase Synchronization (CRPS) is a form of non-linear interaction between respiratory and cardiovascular systems that was found to be reduced in severe OSA patients. The Hilbert Transform (HT) method was the recommended choice for estimating the respiratory phase in CRPS studies. But we have noticed that HT provides a phase that is aligned to the transition between the exhalation and the inhalation parts of different breathing cycles, instead of being aligned to the breathing onsets. In this work we proposed a Realigned HT phase estimation method (RHT) and we compared it to the conventional HT and to the Linear Phase (LP) approximation for estimating CRPS in a database of 28 patients with different OSA severity levels. RHT provided similar synchronization percentages (%Sync) as HT, and it enhanced the significant differences in %Sync between mild and severe OSA patients. %Sync showed the highest negative correlation with the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) when using RHT (rAHI=-0.692, p<;0.001), which only had an 10% extra computational cost. On the other hand, LP method significantly overestimated %Sync especially in the more severe patients, because it was unable to track the phase non-linearities that can be observed during sleep disordered breathing. Therefore, the newly proposed RHT can be the preferred alternative over the conventional HT or the LP approximation for estimating CRPS in OSA patients.

Keywords: Correlation, Databases, Electrocardiography, Phase estimation, Sleep apnea, Synchronization, Transforms


Lozano, M., Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., (2015). Análisis de sonidos adventicios continuos en pacientes asmáticos mediante el espectro de Hilbert CASEIB Proceedings XXXIII Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB 2015) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (Madrid, Spain) , 179-182

Los sonidos adventicios continuos (CAS) son uno de los principales síntomas del asma. Dada su importancia clínica, el análisis de estas señales requiere del uso de técnicas que permitan segmentarlas y caracterizarlas con una precisión alta. Sin embargo, la mayoría de técnicas propuestas anteriormente estaban basadas en el análisis de Fourier o wavelet, técnicas que tienen una resolución limitada a priori y son altamente dependientes de la amplitud de los CAS. En este estudio se presenta una técnica alternativa para el análisis de CAS basada en el espectro de Hilbert. El método presentado combina la descomposición empírica en modos por conjuntos con el estimador de Kay de la frecuencia instantánea, para obtener una representación tiempo-frecuencia con una alta concentración de energía y una resolución temporal y frecuencial elevada. Con el fin de mostrar las ventajas que ofrece el método presentado, se ha aplicado a cuatro señales de sonidos respiratorios registradas en pacientes asmáticos que contienen distintos tipos de CAS, reforzando la hipótesis confirmada en nuestro estudio previo de que el espectro de Hilbert permite segmentar y caracterizar los CAS con mayor precisión que otras técnicas tradicionales ampliamente utilizadas, como el espectrograma.


Sola-Soler, J., Giraldo, B. F., Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., (2015). Cardiorespiratory Phase Synchronization in OSA subjects during wake and sleep states Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Milan, Italy) , 7708-7711

Cardiorespiratory Phase Synchronization (CRPS) is a manifestation of coupling between cardiac and respiratory systems complementary to Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia. In this work, we investigated CRPS during wake and sleep stages in Polysomnographic (PSG) recordings of 30 subjects suspected from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The population was classified into three severity groups according to the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI): G1 (AHI<;15), G2 (15<;=AHI<;30) and G3 (AHI>30). The synchrogram between single lead ECG and respiratory abdominal band signals from PSG was computed with the Hilbert transform technique. The different phase locking ratios (PLR) m:n were monitored throughout the night. Ratio 4:1 was the most frequent and it became more dominant as OSA severity increased. CRPS was characterized by the percentage of synchronized time (%Sync) and the average duration of synchronized epochs (AvDurSync) using three different thresholds. Globally, we observed that %Sync significantly decreased and AvDurSync slightly increased with OSA severity. A high synchronization threshold enhanced these population differences. %Sync was significantly higher in NREM than in REM sleep in G2 and G3 groups. Population differences observed during sleep did not translate to the initial wake state. Reduced CRPS could be an early marker of OSA severity during sleep, but further studies are needed to determine whether CRPS is also present during wakefulness.

Keywords: Band-pass filters, Electrocardiography, Heart beat, Sleep apnea, Sociology, Statistics, Synchronization


Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., Lozano, M., Gómez, R., Ruiz, J., (2014). Detecting unilateral phrenic paralysis by acoustic respiratory analysis PLoS ONE 9, (4), e93595

The consequences of phrenic nerve paralysis vary from a considerable reduction in respiratory function to an apparently normal state. Acoustic analysis of lung sound intensity (LSI) could be an indirect non-invasive measurement of respiratory muscle function, comparing activity on the two sides of the thoracic cage. Lung sounds and airflow were recorded in ten males with unilateral phrenic paralysis and ten healthy subjects (5 men/5 women), during progressive increasing airflow maneuvers. Subjects were in sitting position and two acoustic sensors were placed on their back, on the left and right sides. LSI was determined from 1.2 to 2.4 L/s between 70 and 2000 Hz. LSI was significantly greater on the normal (19.3±4.0 dB) than the affected (5.7±3.5 dB) side in all patients (p = 0.0002), differences ranging from 9.9 to 21.3 dB (13.5±3.5 dB). In the healthy subjects, the LSI was similar on both left (15.1±6.3 dB) and right (17.4±5.7 dB) sides (p = 0.2730), differences ranging from 0.4 to 4.6 dB (2.3±1.6 dB). There was a positive linear relationship between the LSI and the airflow, with clear differences between the slope of patients (about 5 dB/L/s) and healthy subjects (about 10 dB/L/s). Furthermore, the LSI from the affected side of patients was close to the background noise level, at low airflows. As the airflow increases, the LSI from the affected side did also increase, but never reached the levels seen in healthy subjects. Moreover, the difference in LSI between healthy and paralyzed sides was higher in patients with lower FEV1 (%). The acoustic analysis of LSI is a relevant non-invasive technique to assess respiratory function. This method could reinforce the reliability of the diagnosis of unilateral phrenic paralysis, as well as the monitoring of these patients.


Sarlabous, Leonardo, Torres, Abel, Fiz, J. A., Jané, Raimon, (2014). Evidence towards improved estimation of respiratory muscle effort from diaphragm mechanomyographic signals with cardiac vibration interference using sample entropy with fixed tolerance values PLoS ONE 9, (2), e88902

The analysis of amplitude parameters of the diaphragm mechanomyographic (MMGdi) signal is a non-invasive technique to assess respiratory muscle effort and to detect and quantify the severity of respiratory muscle weakness. The amplitude of the MMGdi signal is usually evaluated using the average rectified value or the root mean square of the signal. However, these estimations are greatly affected by the presence of cardiac vibration or mechanocardiographic (MCG) noise. In this study, we present a method for improving the estimation of the respiratory muscle effort from MMGdi signals that is robust to the presence of MCG. This method is based on the calculation of the sample entropy using fixed tolerance values (fSampEn), that is, with tolerance values that are not normalized by the local standard deviation of the window analyzed. The behavior of the fSampEn parameter was tested in synthesized mechanomyographic signals, with different ratios between the amplitude of the MCG and clean mechanomyographic components. As an example of application of this technique, the use of fSampEn was explored also in recorded MMGdi signals, with different inspiratory loads. The results with both synthetic and recorded signals indicate that the entropy parameter is less affected by the MCG noise, especially at low signal-to-noise ratios. Therefore, we believe that the proposed fSampEn parameter could improve estimates of respiratory muscle effort from MMGdi signals with the presence of MCG interference.


Lozano, M., Fiz, J., Jané, R., (2014). Análisis de la intensidad de los sonidos respiratorios para el diagnóstico de la parálisis frénica unilateral CASEIB Proceedings XXXII Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB 2014) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (Barcelona, Spain) , 1-4

(ISR) es una medida indirecta y no invasiva de la función respiratoria, que permite comparar la actividad en los dos hemitórax de los pacientes con parálisis frénica unilateral. Se registraron los sonidos y el flujo respiratorio en 10 hombres con parálisis frénica unilateral y 10 sujetos sanos (5 hombres/5 mujeres) en posición sentada. Se colocaron 2 micrófonos de contacto en la espalda, uno a cada lado de la columna. La ISR se calculó en el rango frecuencial 70-2000 Hz a partir de la densidad espectral de potencia y para flujos entre 1,2 y 2,4 l/s. Se encontró que las diferencias en la ISR media de los dos hemitórax era significativamente mayor en los pacientes (13.5 dB) que en los sujetos sanos (2.3 dB). Además, se comprobó que esa diferencia era mayor en pacientes con un volumen espiratorio forzado en el primer segundo menor. Por lo tanto, el análisis acústico de la ISR es una técnica no invasiva muy útil para valorar la función respiratoria. Esta técnica puede mejorar la fiabilidad en el diagnóstico de la parálisis frénica unilateral así como la monitorización a largo plazo de estos pacientes.


Solà, J., Fiz, J.A., Torres, A., Jané, R., (2014). Evaluación de la vía aérea superior en sujetos con SAHS mediante análisis del sonido respiratorio durante vigilia CASEIB Proceedings XXXII Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB 2014) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (Barcelona, Spain) , 1-4

El Síndrome de Apnea-Hipopnea del Sueño (SAHS) actualmente se diagnostica mediante la Polisomnografía (PSG), una prueba cara y costosa. Se han propuesto diversas alternativas para ayudar al cribado previo de SAHS. En estudios previos demostramos que los sujetos con SAHS se pueden identificar a partir de las frecuencias de resonancia (formantes) de la respiración nocturna. En este trabajo se extiende el estudio al sonido respiratorio registrado en vigilia. Se seleccionaron diversos ciclos de inspiración y expiración consecutivas en 23 sujetos con diversos grados de SAHS durante el estado de vigilia previo a la PSG. Mediante un modelo autoregresivo (AR) se estimaron los formantes y el área transversal (CSA) de la vía. Se observa que los formantes en determinadas bandas tienen una frecuencia mayor (p<0.04) en sujetos con SAHS levemoderado, con un Índice de Apnea-Hipopnea (AHI) menor que 30, respecto a los sujetos con SAHS severo (AHI≥30). En paralelo, el área promedio de la vía aérea en las zonas con obstrucción muestra una tendencia decreciente (r=-0.498) con la severidad de la patología. Las características de los formantes, combinadas con medidas antropométricas, permiten clasificar a los sujetos con SAHS severo con una sensibilidad (especificidad) de hasta un 84.6% (88.9%). En conclusión, el sonido respiratorio registrado durante vigilia proporciona información valiosa sobre el estado de la vía aérea superior que puede ayudar a identificar un SAHS severo.


Solà, J., Fiz, J. A., Torres, A., Jané, R., (2014). Identification of Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients from tracheal breath sound analysis during wakefulness in polysomnographic studies Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 36th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Chicago, USA) , 4232-4235

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is currently diagnosed by a full nocturnal polysomnography (PSG), a very expensive and time-consuming method. In previous studies we were able to distinguish patients with OSA through formant frequencies of breath sound during sleep. In this study we aimed at identifying OSA patients from breath sound analysis during wakefulness. The respiratory sound was acquired by a tracheal microphone simultaneously to PSG recordings. We selected several cycles of consecutive inspiration and exhalation episodes in 10 mild-moderate (AHI<;30) and 13 severe (AHI>=30) OSA patients during their wake state before getting asleep. Each episode's formant frequencies were estimated by linear predictive coding. We studied several formant features, as well as their variability, in consecutive inspiration and exhalation episodes. In most subjects formant frequencies were similar during inspiration and exhalation. Formant features in some specific frequency band were significantly different in mild OSA as compared to severe OSA patients, and showed a decreasing correlation with OSA severity. These formant characteristics, in combination with some anthropometric measures, allowed the classification of OSA subjects between mild-moderate and severe groups with sensitivity (specificity) up to 88.9% (84.6%) and accuracy up to 86.4%. In conclusion, the information provided by formant frequencies of tracheal breath sound recorded during wakefulness may allow identifying subjects with severe OSA.

Keywords: Correlation, Databases, Sensitivity, Sleep apnea, Speech, Synchronization


Sarlabous, L., Torres, A., Fiz, J.A., Gea, J., Martínez-Llorens, J.M., Jané, R., (2014). Relación entre la presión inspiratoria pico y la activación mecánica de los músculos inspiratorios durante respiración tranquila en pacientes con EPOC CASEIB Proceedings XXXII Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB 2014) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (Barcelona, Spain) , 1-4

En la enfermedad pulmonar obstructiva crónica (EPOC) la fuerza muscular inspiratoria (FMI) y la eficiencia mecánica de los músculos inspiratorios (EMMI) podrían verse reducidas como consecuencia de la hiperinsuflación. En este trabajo se registraron la presión inspiratoria en boca (PIpico) y la activación mecánica de los músculos inspiratorios en 10 pacientes EPOC severos y muy severos, durante respiración tranquila. Para determinar la activación mecánica de los músculos inspiratorios se empleó la señal mecanomiográfica diafragmática: MMGdi. La amplitud de la señal MMGdi fue estimada a través de índices lineales (ARV: valor rectificado medio) y no lineales (MLZ: Lempel-Ziv multiestado, y fSampEn: entropía muestral con valores de tolerancia fijos). Nuestra hipótesis es que el ratio entre PIpico, que refleja la FMI, y la amplitud de la señal MMGdi constituye una expresión de la EMMI. Los resultados obtenidos muestran ligeras diferencias entre la PIpico registrada en EPOC severos y muy severos, así como una correlación débil a moderada con los parámetros de función pulmonar y los índices estudiados. Sin embargo, mientras mayor es el grado de severidad (que supone un mayor grado de hiperinsuflación) mayor es el nivel de activación mecánica de los músculos inspiratorios. La activación mecánica de los músculos inspiratorios y la EMMI estimadas mediante MLZ estuvieron mejor correlacionadas con la función pulmonar que ARV y fSampEn. Por consiguiente, la estimación de la actividad mecánica del diafragma mediante el MLZ de la señal MMGdi podría mejorar la estimación no invasiva de la FMI y la EMMI, incluso para niveles muy bajos de esfuerzo inspiratorio.


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Sarlabous, L., Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., (2014). Respiratory rate detection by empirical mode decomposition method applied to diaphragm mechanomyographic signals Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 36th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Chicago, USA) , 3204-3207

Non-invasive evaluation of respiratory activity is an area of increasing research interest, resulting in the appearance of new monitoring techniques, ones of these being based on the analysis of the diaphragm mechanomyographic (MMGdi) signal. The MMGdi signal can be decomposed into two parts: (1) a high frequency activity corresponding to lateral vibration of respiratory muscles, and (2) a low frequency activity related to excursion of the thoracic cage. The purpose of this study was to apply the empirical mode decomposition (EMD) method to obtain the low frequency of MMGdi signal and selecting the intrinsic mode functions related to the respiratory movement. With this intention, MMGdi signals were acquired from a healthy subject, during an incremental load respiratory test, by means of two capacitive accelerometers located at left and right sides of rib cage. Subsequently, both signals were combined to obtain a new signal which contains the contribution of both sides of thoracic cage. Respiratory rate (RR) measured from the mechanical activity (RRMmg) was compared with that measured from inspiratory pressure signal (RRP). Results showed a Pearson's correlation coefficient (r = 0.87) and a good agreement (mean bias = -0.21 with lower and upper limits of -2.33 and 1.89 breaths per minute, respectively) between RRmmg and RRP measurements. In conclusion, this study suggests that RR can be estimated using EMD for extracting respiratory movement from low mechanical activity, during an inspiratory test protocol.

Keywords: Accelerometers, Band-pass filters, Biomedical measurement, Empirical mode decomposition, Estimation, IP networks, Muscles


López Picazo, M., Solà, J., Fiz, J.A., Jané, R., (2014). Sincronización de sistemas de monitorización para el estudio de ronquidos en las distintas fases del sueño en pacientes con SAHS CASEIB Proceedings XXXII Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB 2014) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (Barcelona, Spain) , 1-4

El Síndrome de Apnea-Hipopnea del Sueño (SAHS) tiene una incidencia en sujetos de edad media, del 2-4% en mujeres y 4- 6% en hombres, además de múltiples consecuencias asociadas. Sin embargo, a pesar de su prevalencia, menos de un 10% de la población con este síndrome es diagnosticada. Con el objetivo de identificar qué señales debería emplear un futuro método de diagnóstico para pacientes con sospecha de SAHS más eficaz que los actuales, se sugiere un estudio en detalle de los eventos respiratorios que tienen lugar durante la noche. Para ello se parte de los estudios de monitorización del sueño realizados a pacientes con síntomas de SAHS mediante dos plataformas comerciales distintas. En primer lugar, los registros procedentes de dichos estudios se combinan y sincronizan temporalmente de una forma precisa y robusta. Una vez llevada y sincronizada toda la información a una plataforma común, el presente estudio se centra en la relación del SAHS con una nueva información, el roncograma. El concograma permite estudiar la evolución de los ronquidos según la fase de sueño. Aplicando esta medida sobre nuestra base de datos observamos como el tiempo en fase de vigilia, el tiempo en fase REM o la densidad de ronquidos en fases ligeras presentan diferencias estadísticamente significativas para pacientes con distinta severidad de SAHS.


Lozano, M., Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., (2014). Analysis of normal and continuous adventitious sounds for the assessment of asthma IFMBE Proceedings XIII Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing 2013 (ed. Roa Romero, Laura M.), Springer International Publishing (London, UK) 41, 981-984

Assessment of asthma is a difficult procedure which is based on the correlation of multiple factors. A major component in the diagnosis of asthma is the assessment of BD response, which is performed by traditional spirometry. In this context, the analysis of respiratory sounds (RS) provides relevant and complementary information about the function of the respiratory system. In particular, continuous adventitious sounds (CAS), such as wheezes, contribute to assess the severity of patients with obstructive diseases. On the other hand, the intensity of normal RS is dependent on airflow level and, therefore, it changes depending on the level of obstruction. This study proposes a new approach to RS analysis for the assessment of asthmatic patients, by combining the quantification of CAS and the analysis of the changes in the normal sound intensity-airflow relationship. According to results obtained from three patients with different characteristics, the proposed technique seems more sensitive and promising for the assessment of asthma.

Keywords: Asthma, Bronchodilator response, Continuous adventitious sound, Respiratory sound intensity, Wheezes


Torres, A., Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., (2014). Cancellation of cardiac interference in diaphragm EMG signals using an estimate of ECG reference signal IFMBE Proceedings XIII Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing 2013 (ed. Roa Romero, Laura M.), Springer International Publishing (London, UK) 41, 1000-1004

The analysis of the electromyographic signal of the diaphragm muscle (EMGdi) can provide important information in order to evaluate the respiratory muscular function. However, EMGdi signals are usually contaminated by the electrocardiographic (ECG) signal. An adaptive noise cancellation (ANC) based on event-synchronous cancellation can be used to reduce the ECG interference in the recorded EMGdi activity. In this paper, it is proposed an ANC scheme for cancelling the ECG interference in EMGdi signals using only the EMGdi signal (without acquiring the ECG signal). In this case the detection of the QRS complex has been performed directly in the EMGdi signal, and the ANC algorithm must be robust to false or missing QRS detections. Furthermore, an automatic criterion to select the adaptive constant of the LMS algorithm has been proposed (

Keywords: Adaptive Canceller, EMG, Diaphragm muscle


Sarlabous, L., Torres, A., Fiz, J. A., Morera, J., Jané, R., (2013). Index for estimation of muscle force from mechanomyography based on the Lempel-Ziv algorithm Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 23, (3), 548-557

The study of the amplitude of respiratory muscle mechanomyographic (MMG) signals could be useful in clinical practice as an alternative non-invasive technique to assess respiratory muscle strength. The MMG signal is stochastic in nature, and its amplitude is usually estimated by means of the average rectified value (ARV) or the root mean square (RMS) of the signal. Both parameters can be used to estimate MMG activity, as they correlate well with muscle force. These estimations are, however, greatly affected by the presence of structured impulsive noise that overlaps in frequency with the MMG signal. In this paper, we present a method for assessing muscle activity based on the Lempel-Ziv algorithm: the Multistate Lempel-Ziv (MLZ) index. The behaviour of the MLZ index was tested with synthesised signals, with various amplitude distributions and degrees of complexity, and with recorded diaphragm MMG signals. We found that this index, like the ARV and RMS parameters, is positively correlated with changes in amplitude of the diaphragm MMG components, but is less affected by components that have non-random behaviour (like structured impulsive noise). Therefore, the MLZ index could provide more information to assess the MMG-force relationship.

Keywords: Diaphragm, Electromyography, Lempel-Ziv, Mechanomyography, Muscle force, Respiratory muscles


Sarlabous, L., Torres, A., Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., (2013). Cardiac interference reduction in diaphragmatic MMG signals during a Maintained Inspiratory Pressure Test Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Osaka, Japan) , 3845-3848

A recursive least square (RLS) adaptive filtering algorithm for reduction of cardiac interference in diaphragmatic mecanomyographic (MMGdi) signals is addressed in this paper. MMGdi signals were acquired with a capacitive accelerometer placed between 7th and 8th intercostal spaces, on the right anterior axillary line, during a maintained inspiratory pressure test. Subjects were asked to maintain a constant inspiratory pressure with a mouthpiece connected to a closed tube (without breathing). This maneuver was repeated at five different contraction efforts: apnea (no effort), 20 cmH2O, 40 cmH2O, 60 cmH2O and maximum voluntary contraction. An adaptive noise canceller (ANC) using the RLS algorithm was applied on the MMGdi signals. To evaluate the behavior of the ANC, the MMGdi signals were analyzed in two segments: with and without cardiac interference (WCI and NCI, respectively). In both segments it was analyzed the power spectral density (PSD), and the ARV and RMS amplitude parameters for each contraction effort. With the proposed ANC algorithm the amplitude parameters of the WCI segments were reduced to a level similar to the one of the NCI segments. The obtained results showed that ANC using the RLS algorithm allows to significantly reduce the cardiac interference in MMGdi signals.


Lozano, M., Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., (2013). Estimation of instantaneous frequency from empirical mode decomposition on respiratory sounds analysis Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Osaka, Japan) , 981-984

Instantaneous frequency (IF) calculated by empirical mode decomposition (EMD) provides a novel approach to analyze respiratory sounds (RS). Traditionally, RS have been analyzed using classical time-frequency distributions, such as short-time Fourier transform (STFT) or wavelet transform (WT). However, EMD has become a powerful tool for nonlinear and non-stationary data analysis. IF estimated by EMD has two major advantages: its high temporal resolution and the fact that a priori knowledge of the signal characteristics is not required. In this study, we have estimated IF by EMD on real RS signals in order to identify continuous adventitious sounds (CAS), such as wheezes, within inspiratory sounds cycles. We show that there are differences in IF distribution among frequency scales of RS signal when CAS are within RS. Therefore, a new method for RS analysis and classification may be developed by combining both EMD and IF.


Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., (2012). Snoring Analysis. A Complex Question Journal of Sleep Disorders: Treatment & Care 1, (1), 1-3

The snore is a breathing sound that originates during sleep, either nocturnal or diurnal. Many procedures have been used for its analysis, from simple interrogation, going through acoustic methods that have been developed thanks to the advance of biomedical techniques in recent years. So far a procedure homologated by different laboratories for its study doesn’t exist. The present editorial describes the current state of the art in the snoring analysis procedures.

Keywords: Snoring, Sleep apnea, OSAS


Mesquita, J., Solà, J., Fiz, J. A., Morera, J., Jané, R., (2012). All night analysis of time interval between snores in subjects with sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing 50, (4), 373-381

Sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (SAHS) is a serious sleep disorder, and snoring is one of its earliest and most consistent symptoms. We propose a new methodology for identifying two distinct types of snores: the so-called non-regular and regular snores. Respiratory sound signals from 34 subjects with different ranges of Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI = 3.7-109.9 h -1) were acquired. A total number of 74,439 snores were examined. The time interval between regular snores in short segments of the all night recordings was analyzed. Severe SAHS subjects show a shorter time interval between regular snores (p = 0.0036, AHI cp: 30 h -1) and less dispersion on the time interval features during all sleep. Conversely, lower intra-segment variability (p = 0.006, AHI cp: 30 h -1) is seen for less severe SAHS subjects. Features derived from the analysis of time interval between regular snores achieved classification accuracies of 88.2 % (with 90 % sensitivity, 75 % specificity) and 94.1 % (with 94.4 % sensitivity, 93.8 % specificity) for AHI cut-points of severity of 5 and 30 h -1, respectively. The features proved to be reliable predictors of the subjects' SAHS severity. Our proposed method, the analysis of time interval between snores, provides promising results and puts forward a valuable aid for the early screening of subjects suspected of having SAHS.

Keywords: Sleep apnea, Snore sounds, Snore time interval


Solà, J., Fiz, J. A., Morera, J., Jané, R., (2012). Multiclass classification of subjects with sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome through snoring analysis Medical Engineering and Physics 34, (9), 1213-1220

The gold standard for diagnosing sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome (SAHS) is polysomnography (PSG), an expensive, labour-intensive and time-consuming procedure. Accordingly, it would be very useful to have a screening method to allow early assessment of the severity of a subject, prior to his/her referral for PSG. Several differences have been reported between simple snorers and SAHS patients in the acoustic characteristics of snoring and its variability. In this paper, snores are fully characterised in the time domain, by their sound intensity and pitch, and in the frequency domain, by their formant frequencies and several shape and energy ratio measurements. We show that accurate multiclass classification of snoring subjects, with three levels of SAHS, can be achieved on the basis of acoustic analysis of snoring alone, without any requiring information on the duration or the number of apnoeas. Several classification methods are examined. The best of the approaches assessed is a Bayes model using a kernel density estimation method, although good results can also be obtained by a suitable combination of two binary logistic regression models. Multiclass snore-based classification allows early stratification of subjects according to their severity. This could be the basis of a single channel, snore-based screening procedure for SAHS.

Keywords: Bayes classifier, Kernel density estimation, Sleep apnoea, Snoring


Lozano, M., Fiz, J.A., Jané, R., (2012). Análisis multicanal de sonidos respiratorios en acústica pulmonar: aplicación clínica en pacientes asmáticos Libro de Actas XXX CASEIB 2012 XXX Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB2012) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (San Sebastián, Spain) , 1-4

En este trabajo se ha visto que la evaluación de la potencia media de las señales de sonidos respiratorios antes y después de aplicar un fármaco broncodilatador puede reportar información importante sobre el estado y los cambios producidos en el sistema respiratorio. Se ha realizado y puesto a punto un protocolo de registro multicanal de acústica pulmonar mediante la colocación de 5 micrófonos de contacto: uno traqueal y cuatro micrófonos colocados en el tórax posterior. Mediante el análisis de las curvas intensidad-flujo respiratorio se han observado cambios significativos de intensidad a niveles de flujo elevados y en pacientes con una PBD negativa. Es en este grupo de pacientes, no respondedores, donde la técnica propuesta puede aportar información de interés clínico complementaria a la proporcionada por la espirometría clásica.


Urra, O., Fiz, J.A., Abad, J., Jané, R., (2012). Beyond the reach of AHI: identifying key markers for improved systematic diagnosis of SAHS Libro de Actas XXX CASEIB 2012 XXX Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB2012) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (San Sebastián, Spain) , 1-4

Torres, A., Sarlabous, L., Fiz, J.A., Jané, R., (2012). Evaluación de diferentes algoritmos adaptativos para la atenuación de la interferencia cardiaca en señales mecanomiográficas simuladas Libro de Actas XXX CASEIB 2012 XXX Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB2012) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (San Sebastián, Spain) , 1-4

El estudio de la señal mecanomiográfica del músculo diafragma (MMGdi) es una técnica utilizada para evaluar el esfuerzo muscular respiratorio. El estudio de la relación entre los parámetros de amplitud y frecuencia de esta señal con el esfuerzo respiratorio realizado es de gran interés para investigadores y médicos debido a su potencial de diagnóstico sobre la función muscular respiratoria. Las señales MMGdi se ven afectas por una componente interferente correspondiente a la actividad vibratoria cardíaca o interferencia mecanocardiográfica (MCG). Para reducir o atenuar esta actividad se puede utilizar una cancelación adaptativa de interferencias (CAI). En este trabajo se ha evaluado el esquema de CAI propuesto mediante una señal MMGdi sintética generada con amplitud y frecuencia controlada a la que se le ha añadido ruido MCG real adquirido durante apnea. El coeficiente de correlación de Pearson (r) entre la amplitud y la frecuencia teóricas, y la amplitud y la frecuencia evaluadas mediante el RMS y la frecuencia media del espectro, respectivamente, disminuye considerablemente cuando se añade el ruido cardíaco a la señal MMGdi sintética: pasa de 0.95 a 0.87 para la amplitud, y de 0.97 a 0.76 para la frecuencia. Con los algoritmos de CAI propuestos el efecto del ruido MCG sobre la actividad MMGdi se reduce considerablemente (r de 0.93 para la amplitud y 0.97 para la frecuencia media). El método de CAI propuesto en este trabajo es una técnica adecuada para atenuar la interferencia MCG en señales MMGdi.


Sarlabous, L., Torres, A., Fiz, J. A., Morera, J., Jané, R., (2012). Evaluation and adaptive attenuation of the cardiac vibration interference in mechanomyographic signals Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 34th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (San Diego, USA) , 3400-3403

The study of the mechanomyographic signal of the diaphragm muscle (MMGdi) is a promising technique in order to evaluate the respiratory muscles effort. The relationship between amplitude and frequency parameters of this signal with the respiratory effort performed during respiration is of great interest for researchers and physicians due to its diagnostic potentials. However, MMGdi signals are frequently contaminated by a cardiac vibration or mechanocardiographic (MCG) signal. An adaptive noise cancellation (ANC) can be used to reduce the MCG interference in the recorded MMGdi activity. In this paper, it is evaluated the proposed ANC scheme by means of a synthetic MMGdi signal with a controlled MCG interference. The Pearson's correlation coefficient (PCC) between both root mean square (RMS) and mean frequency (fm) of the synthetic MMGdi signal are considerably reduced with the presence of cardiac vibration noise (from 0.95 to 0.87, and from 0.97 to 0.76, respectively). With the ANC algorithm proposed the effect of the MCG noise on the amplitude and frequency of MMG parameters is reduced considerably (PCC of 0.93 and 0.97 for the RMS and fm, respectively). The ANC method proposed in this work is an interesting technique to attenuate the cardiac interference in respiratory MMG signals. Further investigation should be carried out to evaluate the performance of the ANC algorithm in real MMGdi signals.

Keywords: Adaptive filters, Frequency modulation, Interference, Muscles, Noise cancellation, Vibrations, Cardiology, Medical signal processing, Muscle, Signal denoising, ANC algorithm, MCG interference, Pearson correlation coefficient, Adaptive noise cancellation, Cardiac vibration interference, Cardiac vibration noise, Diaphragm muscle, Mechanocardiographic signal, Mechanomyographic signals, Respiratory muscles effort


Sarlabous, L., Torres, A., Fiz, J.A., Jané, R., (2012). Reducción de interferencia cardíaca en señales MMG diafragmáticas registradas durante un protocolo de carga incremental sostenida mediante el algoritmo RLS Libro de Actas XXX CASEIB 2012 XXX Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB2012) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (San Sebastián, Spain) , 1-4

En este trabajo se aplicó el filtrado adaptativo empleando el algoritmo RLS para reducir la interferencia de origen cardíaco en las señales mecanomiográficas diafragmáticas (MMGdi) registras durante un protocolo de carga incremental sostenida. La señal MMGdi fue dividida en tramos con y sin ruido cardíaco, CRC y SRC, respectivamente. En cada tramo se estudio el comportamiento de la densidad espectral de potencia (DEP), y los parámetros de amplitud RMS y ARV para cada una de las cargas inspiratorias que conforman el test. Los resultados obtenidos, empleando filtro adaptativo de orden =50, con el algoritmo RLS y valores de - = 1, permiten reducir considerablemente la interferencia cardíaca en las señales MMGdi.


Mesquita, J., Poree, F., Carrault, G., Fiz, J. A., Abad, J., Jané, R., (2012). Respiratory and spontaneous arousals in patients with Sleep Apnea Hypopnea Syndrome Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 34th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (San Diego, USA) , 6337-6340

Sleep in patients with Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome (SAHS) is frequently interrupted with arousals. Increased amounts of arousals result in shortening total sleep time and repeated sleep-arousal change can result in sleep fragmentation. According to the American Sleep Disorders Association (ASDA) an arousal is a marker of sleep disruption representing a detrimental and harmful feature for sleep. The nature of arousals and its role on the regulation of the sleep process raises controversy and has sparked the debate in the last years. In this work, we analyzed and compared the EEG spectral content of respiratory and spontaneous arousals on a database of 45 SAHS subjects. A total of 3980 arousals (1996 respiratory and 1984 spontaneous) were analyzed. The results showed no differences between the spectral content of the two kinds of arousals. Our findings raise doubt as to whether these two kinds of arousals are truly triggered by different organic mechanisms. Furthermore, they may also challenge the current beliefs regarding the underestimation of the importance of spontaneous arousals and their contribution to sleep fragmentation in patients suffering from SAHS.

Keywords: Adaptive filters, Correlation, Databases, Electroencephalography, Hospitals, Sleep apnea, Electroencephalography, Medical signal processing, Pneumodynamics, Sleep, EEG spectral content, Organic mechanism, Respiratory, Sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome, Sleep fragmentation, Spectral content, Spontaneous arousal


Fiz, José Antonio, Solà, J., Jané, Raimon, (2011). Métodos de análisis del ronquido Medicina Clínica 137, (1), 36-42

El ronquido es un sonido respiratorio que se produce durante el sueño, ya sea nocturno o diurno. El ronquido puede ser inspiratorio, espiratorio o puede ocupar todo el ciclo respiratorio. Tiene su origen en la vibración de los diferentes tejidos de la vía aérea superior. Se han descrito numerosos métodos para analizarlo, desde el simple interrogatorio, pasando por cuestionarios estándares, hasta llegar a los métodos acústicos más sofisticados, que se han desarrollado gracias al gran avance de las técnicas biomédicas en los últimos años. El presente trabajo describe el estado del arte actual en los procedimientos de análisis del ronquido.

Keywords: Ronquido, Apnea del sueño, Síndrome de apnea-hipoapnea del sueño, Snoring, Sleep apnea, Sleep Apnea and Hipoapnea Syndrome


Solà, J., Fiz, J.A., Morera, J., Jané, R., (2011). Bayes classification of snoring subjects with and without Sleep Apnea Hypopnea Syndrome, using a Kernel method Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 33rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS , IEEE (Boston, USA) Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 6071-6074

The gold standard for diagnosing Sleep Apnea Hypopnea Syndrome (SAHS) is the Polysomnography (PSG), an expensive, labor-intensive and time-consuming procedure. It would be helpful to have a simple screening method that allowed to early determining the severity of a subject prior to his/her enrolment for a PSG. Several differences have been reported in the acoustic snoring characteristics between simple snorers and SAHS patients. Previous studies usually classify snoring subjects into two groups given a threshold of Apnea-Hypoapnea Index (AHI). Recently, Bayes multi-group classification with Gaussian Probability Density Function (PDF) has been proposed, using snore features in combination with apnea-related information. In this work we show that the Bayes classifier with Kernel PDF estimation outperforms the Gaussian approach and allows the classification of SAHS subjects according to their severity, using only the information obtained from snores. This could be the base of a single

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Sarlabous, L., Torres, A., Fiz, J.A., Gea, J., Martinez-Llorens, J.M., Morera, J., Jané, R. , (2011). Evaluation of the respiratory muscles efficiency during an incremental flow respiratory test Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 33rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS , IEEE (Boston, USA) Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 3820-3823

The aim of this study was to evaluate the respiratory muscles efficiency during a progressive incremental flow (IF) respiratory test in healthy and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) subjects. To achieve this, the relationship between mouth Inspiratory Pressure (IP) increment, which is a measure of the force produced by respiratory muscles, and respiratory muscular activity increment, evaluated by means of Mechanomyografic (MMG) signals of the diaphragm muscle, was analyzed. Moreover, the correlation between the respiratory efficiency measure and the obstruction severity of the subjects was also examined. Data from two groups of subjects were analyzed. One group consisted of four female subjects (two healthy subjects and two moderate COPD patients) and the other consisted of ten male subjects (six severe and four very severe COPD patients). All subjects performed an easy IF respiratory test, in which small IP values were reached. We have found that there is an increase of amplitude and a displacement towards low frequencies in the MMG signals when the IP increases. Furthermore, it has also been found that respiratory muscles efficiency is lower when greater the obstructive severity of the patients is, and it is lower in women than in men. These results suggest that the information provided by MMG signals could be used to evaluate the muscular efficiency in healthy and COPD subjects.

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Mesquita, J., Fiz, J.A., Solà, J., Morera, J., Jané, R., (2011). Normal non-regular snores as a tool for screening SAHS severity Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 33rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS , IEEE (Boston, USA) Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 3197-3200

Snoring is one of the earliest and most consistent sign of upper airway obstruction leading to Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome (SAHS). Several studies on post-apneic snores, snores that are emitted immediately after an apnea, have already proven that this type of snoring is most distinct from that of normal snoring. However, post-apneic snores are more unlikely and sometimes even inexistent in simple snorers and mild SAHS subjects. In this work we address that issue by proposing the study of normal non-regular snores. They correspond to successive snores that are separated by normal breathing cycles. The results obtained establish the feasibility of acoustic parameters of normal non-regular snores as a promising tool for a prompt screening of SAHS severity.

Keywords: -----


Jané, R., Fiz, J.A., Solà, J., Mesquita, J., Morera, J., (2011). Snoring analysis for the screening of sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome with a single-channel device developed using polysomnographic and snoring databases Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 33rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS , IEEE (Boston, USA) Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 8331-8333

Several studies have shown differences in acoustic snoring characteristics between patients with Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome (SAHS) and simple snorers. Usually a few manually isolated snores are analyzed, with an emphasis on postapneic snores in SAHS patients. Automatic analysis of snores can provide objective information over a longer period of sleep. Although some snore detection methods have recently been proposed, they have not yet been applied to full-night analysis devices for screening purposes. We used a new automatic snoring detection and analysis system to monitor snoring during full-night studies to assess whether the acoustic characteristics of snores differ in relation to the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) and to classify snoring subjects according to their AHI. A complete procedure for device development was designed, using databases with polysomnography (PSG) and snoring signals. This included annotation of many types of episodes by an expert physician: snores, inspiration and exhalation breath sounds, speech and noise artifacts, The AHI of each subject was estimated with classical PSG analysis, as a gold standard. The system was able to correctly classify 77% of subjects in 4 severity levels, based on snoring analysis and sound-based apnea detection. The sensitivity and specificity of the system, to identify healthy subjects from pathologic patients (mild to severe SAHS), were 83% and 100%, respectively. Besides, the Apnea Index (AI) obtained with the system correlated with the obtained by PSG or Respiratory Polygraphy (RP) (r=0.87, p<0.05).

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Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., Solà, J., Abad, J., Garcia, M. A., Morera, J., (2010). Continuous analysis and monitoring of snores and their relationship to the apnea-hypopnea index Laryngoscope 120, (4), 854-862

Objectives/Hypothesis: We used a new automatic snoring detection and analysis system to monitor snoring during full-night polysomnography to assess whether the acoustic characteristics of snores differ in relation to the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and to classify subjects according to their AHI Study Design: Individual Case-Control Study. Methods: Thirty-seven snorers (12 females and 25 males, ages 40-65 years; body mass index (BMI), 29.65 +/- 4.7 kg/m(2)) participated Subjects were divided into three groups: G1 (AHI <5), G2 (AHI >= 5, <15) and G3 (AHI >= 15) Snore and breathing sounds were : recorded with a tracheal microphone throughout 6 hours of nighttime polysomnography The snoring episodes identified were automatically and continuously analyzed with a previously trained 2-layer feed-forward neural network. Snore number, average intensity, and power spectral density parameters were computed for every subject and compared among AHI groups. Subjects were classified using different AHI thresholds by means of a logistic regression model. Results: There were significant differences in supine position between G1 and G3 in sound intensity, number of snores; standard deviation of the spectrum, power ratio in bands 0-500, 100-500, and 0-800 Hz, and the symmetry coefficient (P < .03); Patients were classified with thresholds AHI = 5 and AHI = 15 with a sensitivity (specificity) of 87% (71%) and 80% (90%), respectively. Conclusions: A new system for automatic monitoring and analysis of snores during the night is presented. Sound intensity and several snore frequency parameters allow differentiation of snorers according to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome severity (OSAS). Automatic snore intensity and frequency monitoring and analysis could be a promising tool for screening OSAS patients, significantly improving the managing of this pathology.

Keywords: Breathing sounds, Signal interpretation, Sleep apnea syndromes, Snoring


Sarlabous, L., Torres, A., Fiz, J. A., Gea, J., Marti nez-Llorens, J. M., Morera, J., Jané, R., (2010). Interpretation of the approximate entropy using fixed tolerance values as a measure of amplitude variations in biomedical signals Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 32nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Buenos Aires, Argentina) , 5967-5970

A new method for the quantification of amplitude variations in biomedical signals through moving approximate entropy is presented. Unlike the usual method to calculate the approximate entropy (ApEn), in which the tolerance value (r) varies based on the standard deviation of each moving window, in this work ApEn has been computed using a fixed value of r. We called this method, moving approximate entropy with fixed tolerance values: ApEn/sub f/. The obtained results indicate that ApEn/sub f/ allows determining amplitude variations in biomedical data series. These amplitude variations are better determined when intermediate values of tolerance are used. The study performed in diaphragmatic mechanomyographic signals shows that the ApEn/sub f/ curve is more correlated with the respiratory effort than the standard RMS amplitude parameter. Furthermore, it has been observed that the ApEn/sub f/ parameter is less affected by the existence of impulsive, sinusoidal, constant and Gaussian noises in comparison with the RMS amplitude parameter.

Keywords: Practical, Theoretical or Mathematical/ biomechanics, Entropy, Gaussian noise, Medical signal processing, Muscle, Random processes/ approximate entropy interpretation, Fixed tolerance values, Diaphragmatic mechanomyographic signals, ApEnf curve, Respiratory effort, Gaussian noises


Mesquita, J., Fiz, J. A., Solà, J., Morera, J., Jané, R., (2010). Regular and non regular snore features as markers of SAHS Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 32nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Buenos Aires, Argentina) , 6138-6141

Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome (SAHS) diagnosis is still done with an overnight multi-channel polysomnography. Several efforts are being made to study profoundly the snore mechanism and discover how it can provide an opportunity to diagnose the disease. This work introduces the concept of regular snores, defined as the ones produced in consecutive respiratory cycles, since they are produced in a regular way, without interruptions. We applied 2 thresholds (TH/sub adaptive/ and TH/sub median/) to the time interval between successive snores of 34 subjects in order to select regular snores from the whole all-night snore sequence. Afterwards, we studied the effectiveness that parameters, such as time interval between successive snores and the mean intensity of snores, have on distinguishing between different levels of SAHS severity (AHI (Apnea-Hypopnea Index)<5h/sup -1/, AHI<10 h/sup -1/, AHI<15h/sup -1/, AHI<30h/sup -1/). Results showed that TH/sub adaptive/ outperformed TH/sub median/ on selecting regular snores. Moreover, the outcome achieved with non-regular snores intensity features suggests that these carry key information on SAHS severity.

Keywords: Practical, Experimental/ acoustic signal processing, Bioacoustics, Biomedical measurement, Diseases, Feature extraction, Medical signal processing, Patient diagnosis, Pneumodynamics, Sleep/ nonregular snore features, SAHS markers, Sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome, Overnight multichannel polysomnography, Snore mechanism


Fiz, J. A., Morera Prat, J., Jané, R., (2009). Treatment of patients with simple snoring Archivos de Bronconeumología 45, (10), 508-515

Management of snoring is part of the treatment offered to patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. In patients who do not have this syndrome, however, snoring should be treated according to the severity of the condition. General or specific therapeutic measures should be applied to snorers that have concomitant cardiovascular disease or unrefreshing sleep and in cases in which an individual's snoring disturbs his/her partner's sleep. The present review examines the treatments currently available for snorers and the current state of knowledge regarding each option. It will also focus on the possible indications of these treatments and evaluate their effectiveness.

Keywords: Simple snoring, Treatment, General measures, Surgery


Sarlabous, L., Torres, A., Fiz, J. A., Gea, J., Martinez-Llorens, J. M., Jané, R., (2009). Evaluation of the respiratory muscular function by means of diaphragmatic mechanomyographic signals in COPD patients Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Minneapolis, USA) , 3925-3928

The study of mechanomyographic (MMG) signals of respiratory muscles is a promising technique in order to evaluate the respiratory muscular effort. In this work MMG signals from left and right hemidiaphragm (MMGl and MMGr, respectively) acquired during a respiratory protocol have been analyzed. The acquisition of both MMG signals was carried out by means of two capacitive accelerometers placed on both left and right sides of the costal wall. The signals were recorded in a group of six patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It has been observed that with the increase of inspiratory pressure it takes place an increase of the amplitude and a displacement toward low frequencies in both left and right MMG signals. Furthermore, it has been seen that the increase of amplitude and the decrease of frequency in MMG signals are more pronounced in severe COPD patients. This behaviour is similar for both MMGl and MMGr signals. Results suggest that the use of MMG signals could be potentially useful for the evaluation of the respiratory muscular function in COPD patients.

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Sarlabous, L., Torres, A., Fiz, J. A., Gea, J., Galdiz, J. B., Jané, R., (2009). Multistate Lempel-Ziv (MLZ) index interpretation as a measure of amplitude and complexity changes Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Minneapolis, USA) , 4375-4378

The Lempel-Ziv complexity (LZ) has been widely used to evaluate the randomness of finite sequences. In general, the LZ complexity has been used to determine the complexity grade present in biomedical signals. The LZ complexity is not able to discern between signals with different amplitude variations and similar random components. On the other hand, amplitude parameters, as the root mean square (RMS), are not able to discern between signals with similar power distributions and different random components. In this work, we present a novel method to quantify amplitude and complexity variations in biomedical signals by means of the computation of the LZ coefficient using more than two quantification states, and with thresholds fixed and independent of the dynamic range or standard deviation of the analyzed signal: the Multistate Lempel-Ziv (MLZ) index. Our results indicate that MLZ index with few quantification levels only evaluate the complexity changes of the signal, with high number of levels, the amplitude variations, and with an intermediate number of levels informs about both amplitude and complexity variations. The study performed in diaphragmatic mechanomyographic signals shows that the amplitude variations of this signal are more correlated with the respiratory effort than the complexity variations. Furthermore, it has been observed that the MLZ index with high number of levels practically is not affected by the existence of impulsive, sinusoidal, constant and Gaussian noises compared with the RMS amplitude parameter.

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Solà, J., Jané, R., Fiz, J. A., Morera, J., (2008). Formant frequencies of normal breath sounds of snorers may indicate the risk of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Conference Proceedings 30th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (ed. IEEE), IEEE (Vancouver, Canada) 1-8, 3500-3503

Several differences between the airway of normal subjects and those with OSAS are well known. The characteristics of the upper airway may be indirectly studied through the formant frequencies of breathing sounds. In this work we analyze the formants of inspiration and exhalation sounds in snoring subjects with and without OSAS. Formant frequencies of inspiration and exhalation appear in the same bands as snores. Formant F1 is significantly lower in inspiration episodes of OSAS patients (p=0.008) with a decreasing tendency as the AHI increases (r=0.705). In addition, this formant has a significantly higher variability SF1 in pathological subjects, for both inspiration (p=0.022) and exhalation (p=0.038) episodes, as was previously found in snores. A higher variability of formant frequencies seems to be an indicator of the presence of OSAS. The proposed technique could allow the identification of OSAS patients from normal breathing alone.

Keywords: Upper airway


Torres, A., Fiz, J. A., Jané, R., Laciar, E., Galdiz, J. B., Gea, J., Morera, J., (2008). Renyi entropy and Lempel-Ziv complexity of mechanomyographic recordings of diaphragm muscle as indexes of respiratory effort IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Conference Proceedings 30th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (ed. IEEE), IEEE (Vancouver, Canada) 1-8, 2112-2115

The study of the mechanomyographic (MMG) signals of respiratory muscles is a promising technique in order to evaluate the respiratory muscles effort. A new approach for quantifying the relationship between respiratory MMG signals and respiratory effort is presented by analyzing the spatiotemporal patterns in the MMG signal using two non-linear methods: Renyi entropy and Lempel-Ziv (LZ) complexity analysis. Both methods are well suited to the analysis of non-stationary biomedical signals of short length. In this study, MMG signals of the diaphragm muscle acquired by means of a capacitive accelerometer applied on the costal wall were analyzed. The method was tested on an animal model (dogs), and the diaphragmatic MMG signal was recorded continuously while two non anesthetized mongrel dogs performed a spontaneous ventilation protocol with an incremental inspiratory load. The performance in discriminating high and low respiratory effort levels with these two methods was analyzed with the evaluation of the Pearson correlation coefficient between the MMG parameters and respiratory effort parameters extracted from the inspiratory pressure signal. The results obtained show an increase of the MMG signal Renyi entropy and LZ complexity values with the increase of the respiratory effort. Compared with other parameters analyzed in previous works, both Renyi entropy and LZ complexity indexes demonstrates better performance in all the signals analyzed. Our results suggest that these non-linear techniques are useful to detect and quantify changes in the respiratory effort by analyzing MMG respiratory signals.

Keywords: Sound, Force


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