Staff member


Abel Torres Cebrián

Senior Researcher
Biomedical Signal Processing and Interpretation
atorres@ibecbarcelona.eu
+34 934 020 503
Staff member publications

Estrada, L., Torres, A., Sarlabous, L., Jané, R., (2017). Onset and offset estimation of the neural inspiratory time in surface diaphragm electromyography: A pilot study in healthy subjects IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics Epub ahead of print

This study evaluates the onset and offset of neural inspiratory time estimated from surface diaphragm electromyographic (EMGdi) recordings. EMGdi and airflow signals were recorded in ten healthy subjects according to two respiratory protocols based on respiratory rate (RR) increments, from 15 to 40 breaths per minute (bpm), and fractional inspiratory time (Ti/Ttot) decrements, from 0.54 to 0.18. The analysis of diaphragm electromyographic (EMGdi) signal amplitude is an alternative approach for the quantification of neural respiratory drive (NRD). The EMGdi amplitude was estimated using the fixed sample entropy computed over a 250 ms moving window of the EMGdi signal (EMGdifse). The neural onset was detected through a dynamic threshold over the EMGdifse using the kernel density estimation method, while neural offset was detected by finding when the EMGdifse had decreased to 70 % of the peak value reached during inspiration. The Bland-Altman analysis between airflow and neural onsets showed a global bias of 46 ms in the RR protocol and 22 ms in the Ti/Ttot protocol. The Bland-Altman analysis between airflow and neural offsets reveals a global bias of 11 ms in the RR protocol and -2 ms in the Ti/Ttot protocol. The relationship between pairs of RR values (Pearson’s correlation coefficient of 0.99, Bland- Altman limits of -2.39 to 2.41 bpm, and mean bias of 0.01 bpm) and between pairs of Ti/Ttot values (Pearson’s correlation coefficient of 0.86, Bland-Altman limits of -0.11 to 0.10, and mean bias of -0.01) showed a good agreement. In conclusion, we propose a method for determining neural onset and neural offset based on non-invasive recordings of the electrical activity of the diaphragm that requires no filtering of cardiac muscle interference.

Keywords: Kernel density estimation (KDE),, Surface diaphragm electromyographic,, (EMGdi) signal,, Inspiratory time,, Neural respiratory drive (NRD),, Neural inspiratory time,, Fixed sample entropy (fSampEn)


Sarlabous, Leonardo, Torres, Abel, Fiz, José A., Martínez-Llorens, Juana M., Gea, Joaquim, Jané, Raimon, (2017). Inspiratory muscle activation increases with COPD severity as confirmed by non-invasive mechanomyographic analysis PLoS ONE 12, (5), e0177730

There is a lack of instruments for assessing respiratory muscle activation during the breathing cycle in clinical conditions. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the usefulness of the respiratory muscle mechanomyogram (MMG) for non-invasively assessing the mechanical activation of the inspiratory muscles of the lower chest wall in both patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and healthy subjects, and to investigate the relationship between inspiratory muscle activation and pulmonary function parameters. Both inspiratory mouth pressure and respiratory muscle MMG were simultaneously recorded under two different respiratory conditions, quiet breathing and incremental ventilatory effort, in 13 COPD patients and 7 healthy subjects. The mechanical activation of the inspiratory muscles was characterised by the non-linear multistate Lempel–Ziv index (MLZ) calculated over the inspiratory time of the MMG signal. Subsequently, the efficiency of the inspiratory muscle mechanical activation was expressed as the ratio between the peak inspiratory mouth pressure to the amplitude of the mechanical activation. This activation estimated using the MLZ index correlated strongly with peak inspiratory mouth pressure throughout the respiratory protocol in both COPD patients (r = 0.80, p<0.001) and healthy (r = 0.82, p<0.001). Moreover, the greater the COPD severity in patients, the greater the level of muscle activation (r = -0.68, p = 0.001, between muscle activation at incremental ventilator effort and FEV1). Furthermore, the efficiency of the mechanical activation of inspiratory muscle was lower in COPD patients than healthy subjects (7.61±2.06 vs 20.42±10.81, respectively, p = 0.0002), and decreased with increasing COPD severity (r = 0.78, p<0.001, between efficiency of the mechanical activation at incremental ventilatory effort and FEV1). These results suggest that the respiratory muscle mechanomyogram is a good reflection of inspiratory effort and can be used to estimate the efficiency of the mechanical activation of the inspiratory muscles. Both, inspiratory muscle activation and inspiratory muscle mechanical activation efficiency are strongly correlated with the pulmonary function. Therefore, the use of the respiratory muscle mechanomyogram can improve the assessment of inspiratory muscle activation in clinical conditions, contributing to a better understanding of breathing in COPD patients.


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Sarlabous, L., Jané, R., (2017). Influence of parameter selection in fixed sample entropy of surface diaphragm electromyography for estimating respiratory activity Entropy 19, (9), 460

Fixed sample entropy (fSampEn) is a robust technique that allows the evaluation of inspiratory effort in diaphragm electromyography (EMGdi) signals, and has potential utility in sleep studies. To appropriately estimate respiratory effort, fSampEn requires the adjustment of several parameters. The aims of the present study were to evaluate the influence of the embedding dimension m, the tolerance value r, the size of the moving window, and the sampling frequency, and to establish recommendations for estimating the respiratory activity when using the fSampEn on surface EMGdi recorded for different inspiratory efforts. Values of m equal to 1 and r ranging from 0.1 to 0.64, and m equal to 2 and r ranging from 0.13 to 0.45, were found to be suitable for evaluating respiratory activity. fSampEn was less affected by window size than classical amplitude parameters. Finally, variations in sampling frequency could influence fSampEn results. In conclusion, the findings suggest the potential utility of fSampEn for estimating muscle respiratory effort in further sleep studies.

Keywords: Fixed sample entropy (fSampEn), Non-invasive respiratory monitoring, Respiratory activity, Respiratory effort, Surface diaphragm electromyography


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Sarlabous, L., Jané, R., (2016). Improvement in neural respiratory drive estimation from diaphragm electromyographic signals using fixed sample entropy IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics 20, (2), 476-485

Diaphragm electromyography is a valuable technique for the recording of electrical activity of the diaphragm. The analysis of diaphragm electromyographic (EMGdi) signal amplitude is an alternative approach for the quantification of neural respiratory drive (NRD). The EMGdi signal is, however, corrupted by electrocardiographic (ECG) activity, and this presence of cardiac activity can make the EMGdi interpretation more difficult. Traditionally, the EMGdi amplitude has been estimated using the average rectified value (ARV) and the root mean square (RMS). In this work, surface EMGdi signals were analyzed using the fixed sample entropy (fSampEn) algorithm, and compared to traditional ARV and RMS methods. The fSampEn is calculated using a tolerance value fixed and independent of the standard deviation of the analysis window. Thus, this method quantifies the amplitude of the complex components of stochastic signals (such as EMGdi), and being less affected by changes in amplitude due to less complex components (such as ECG). The proposed method was tested in synthetic and recorded EMGdi signals. fSampEn was less sensitive to the effect of cardiac activity on EMGdi signals with different levels of NRD than ARV and RMS amplitude parameters. The mean and standard deviation of the Pearson’s correlation values between inspiratory mouth pressure (an indirect measure of the respiratory muscle activity) and fSampEn, ARV and RMS parameters, estimated in the recorded EMGdi signal at tidal volume (without inspiratory load), were 0.38???0.12, 0.27???0.11 and 0.11???0.13, respectively. Whereas at 33 cmH2O (maximum inspiratory load) were 0.83???0.02, 0.76???0.07 and 0.61???0.19, respectively. Our findings suggest that the proposed method may improve the evaluation of NRD.

Keywords: Electromyography, diaphragm muscle, neural respiratory drive


Ràfols-de-Urquía, M., Estévez-Piorno, J., Torres, A., Estrada, L., Jané, R., (2016). Evaluación de un dispositivo inalámbrico para el registro de la actividad electromiográfica del músculo diafragma CASEIB Proceedings XXXIV Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB 2016) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (Valencia, Spain) , 244-247

La evaluación clínica y deportiva requiere el desarrollo de sistemas de adquisición de señales biomédicas de alta calidad. Sin embargo, estos sistemas implican una gran limitación: los datos deben ser registrados en laboratorios. En los últimos años se han desarrollado dispositivos inalámbricos multimodales que pueden poner fin a estos problemas. En este proyecto se han evaluado señales electromiográficas de los músculos respiratorios, en especial del diafragma (EMGdi), obtenidas a partir de un dispositivo inalámbrico. De forma simultánea se han adquirido las mismas señales con un sistema estándar de adquisición de señales biomédicas, para realizar un estudio comparativo de parámetros e información fisiológica extraída de dichas señales. Las señales han sido registradas en 9 sujetos sanos que siguieron un protocolo respiratorio. Estas señales han sido filtradas y procesadas usando técnicas basadas en el dominio frecuencial y temporal. El ritmo cardíaco ha sido estimado tanto a partir de la medida directa del registro ECG, como indirectamente a partir de las señales electromiografícas respiratorias, mientras que el ritmo respiratorio y la fuerza del músculo han sido estimados a partir de la amplitud de las señales EMGdi durante la contracción respiratoria. Los resultados obtenidos de los datos registrados por sistemas inalámbricos son muy similares a los obtenidos mediante sistemas convencionales con cables, demostrando ser una alternativa que permite adquisiciones y estudios fuera de los laboratorios en situaciones mucho más reales.


Estévez-Piorno, J., Ràfols-de-Urquía, M., Torres, A., Estrada, L., Jané, R., (2016). Evaluación del registro y transmisión de señales electromiográficas mediante un dispostivo inalámbrico CASEIB Proceedings XXXIV Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB 2016) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (Valencia, Spain) , 556-559

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a highly prevalent chronic disease, especially in elderly and obese population. Despite constituting a huge health and economic problem, most patients remain undiagnosed due to limitations in current strategies. Therefore, it is essential to find cost-effective diagnostic alternatives. One of these novel approaches is the analysis of acoustic snoring signals. Snoring is an early symptom of OSA which carries pathophysiological information of high diagnostic value. For this reason, the main objective of this work is to study the characteristics of single snores of different types, from healthy and OSA subjects. To do that, we analyzed snoring signals from previous databases and developed an experimental protocol to record simulated OSA-related sounds and characterize the response of two commercial tracheal microphones. Automatic programs for filtering, downsampling, event detection and time-frequency analysis were built in MATLAB. We found that time-frequency maps and spectral parameters (central, mean and peak frequency and energy in the 100-500 Hz band) allow distinguishing regular snores of healthy subjects from non-regular snores and snores of OSA subjects. Regarding the two commercial microphones, we found that one of them was a suitable snoring sensor, while the other had a too restricted frequency response. Future work shall include a higher number of episodes and subjects, but our study has contributed to show how important the differences between regular and non-regular snores can be for OSA diagnosis, and how much clinically relevant information can be extracted from time-frequency maps and spectral parameters of single snores.


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Sarlabous, L., Jané, R., (2016). Evaluating respiratory muscle activity using a wireless sensor platform Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Orlando, USA) , 5769-5772

Wireless sensors are an emerging technology that allows to assist physicians in the monitoring of patients health status. This approach can be used for the non-invasive recording of the electrical respiratory muscle activity of the diaphragm (EMGdi). In this work, we acquired the EMGdi signal of a healthy subject performing an inspiratory load test. To this end, the EMGdi activity was captured from a single channel of electromyography using a wireless platform which was compared with the EMGdi and the inspiratory mouth pressure (Pmouth) recorded with a conventional lab equipment. From the EMGdi signal we were able to evaluate the neural respiratory drive, a biomarker used for assessing the respiratory muscle function. In addition, we evaluated the breathing movement and the cardiac activity, estimating two cardio-respiratory parameters: the respiratory rate and the heart rate. The correlation between the two EMGdi signals and the Pmouth improved with increasing the respiratory load (Pearson's correlation coefficient ranges from 0.33 to 0.85). The neural respiratory drive estimated from both EMGdi signals showed a positive trend with an increase of the inspiratory load and being higher in the conventional EMGdi recording. The respiratory rate comparison between measurements revealed similar values of around 16 breaths per minute. The heart rate comparison showed a root mean error of less than 0.2 beats per minute which increased when incrementing the inspiratory load. In summary, this preliminary work explores the use of wireless devices to record the muscle respiratory activity to derive several physiological parameters. Its use can be an alternative to conventional measuring systems with the advantage of being portable, lightweight, flexible and operating at low energy. This technology can be attractive for medical staff and may have a positive impact in the way healthcare is being delivered.

Keywords: Biomedical monitoring, Electrodes, Medical services, Monitoring, Muscles, Wireless communication, Wireless sensor networks


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Garcia-Casado, J., Sarlabous, L., Prats-Boluda, G., Jané, R., (2016). Time-frequency representations of the sternocleidomastoid muscle electromyographic signal recorded with concentric ring electrodes Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Orlando, USA) , 3785-3788

The use of non-invasive methods for the study of respiratory muscle signals can provide clinical information for the evaluation of the respiratory muscle function. The aim of this study was to evaluate time-frequency characteristics of the electrical activity of the sternocleidomastoid muscle recorded superficially by means of concentric ring electrodes (CREs) in a bipolar configuration. The CREs enhance the spatial resolution, attenuate interferences, as the cardiac activity, and also simplify the orientation problem associated to the electrode location. Five healthy subjects underwent a respiratory load test in which an inspiratory load was imposed during the inspiratory phase. During the test, the electromyographic signal of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (EMGsc) and the inspiratory mouth pressure (Pmouth) were acquired. Time-frequency characteristics of the EMGsc signal were analyzed by means of eight time-frequency representations (TFRs): the spectrogram (SPEC), the Morlet scalogram (SCAL), the Wigner-Ville distribution (WVD), the Choi-Williams distribution (CHWD), two generalized exponential distributions (GED1 and GED2), the Born-Jordan distribution (BJD) and the Cone-Kernel distribution (CKD). The instantaneous central frequency of the EMGsc showed an increasing behavior during the inspiratory cycle and with the increase of the inspiratory load. The bilinear TFRs (WVD, CHWD, GEDs and BJD) were less sensitive to cardiac activity interference than classical TFRs (SPEC and SCAL). The GED2 was the TFR that shown the best results for the characterization of the instantaneous central frequency of the EMGsc.

Keywords: Electrodes, Interference, Kernel, Mouth, Muscles, Spectrogram, Time-frequency analysis


Sarlabous, Leonardo, Torres, Abel, Fiz, José A., Gea, Joaquim, Martínez-Llorens, Juana M., Jané, Raimon, (2015). Efficiency of mechanical activation of inspiratory muscles in COPD using sample entropy European Respiratory Journal 46, (6), 1808-1811

Respiratory muscle dysfunction is a common problem in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has mostly been related to pulmonary hyperinflation [1, 2]. Associated diaphragm shortening and deleterious changes in the muscle force-length relationship cause a reduction in the muscles' capacity to generate pressure, placing them at a mechanical disadvantage [1, 3]. Specifically, both inspiratory muscle strength and mechanical efficiency may be reduced in COPD patients [1, 4–6], although, at isovolume, the contractile strength of the diaphragm in COPD is preserved or may even be improved in some cases [7]. The ratio between transdiaphragmatic pressure and electrical diaphragm activity has been used as a measure of respiratory muscle efficiency [8, 9]. However, in clinical practice, it is complex to measure this parameter directly, as invasive measures are required and these are uncomfortable for patients [4].


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Sarlabous, L., Jané, R., (2015). EMG-derived respiration signal using the fixed sample entropy during an Inspiratory load protocol Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Milan, Italy) , 1703-1706

Extracting clinical information from one single measurement represents a step forward in the assessment of the respiratory muscle function. This attracting idea entails the reduction of the instrumentation and fosters to develop new medical integrated technologies. We present the use of the fixed sample entropy (fSampEn) as a more direct method to non-invasively derive the breathing activity from the diaphragm electromyographic (EMGdi) signal, and thus to extract the respiratory rate, an important vital sign which is cumbersome and time-consuming to be measured by clinicians. fSampEn is a method to evaluate the EMGdi activity that is less sensitive to the cardiac activity (ECG) and its application has proven to be useful to evaluate the load of the respiratory muscles. The behavior of the proposed method was tested in signals from two subjects that performed an inspiratory load protocol, which consists of increments in the inspiratory mouth pressure (Pmouth). Two respiratory signals were derived and compared to the Pmouth signal: the ECG-derived respiration (EDR) signal from the lead-I configuration, and the EMG-derived respiration (EMGDR) signal by applying the fSampEn method over the EMGdi signal. The similitude and the lag between signals were calculated through the cross-correlation between each derived respiratory signal and the Pmouth. The EMGDR signal showed higher correlation and lower lag values (≥ 0.91 and ≤ 0.70 s, respectively) than the EDR signal (≥ 0.83 and ≤0.99 s, respectively). Additionally, the respiratory rate was estimated with the Pmouth, EDR and EMGDR signals showing very similar values. The results from this preliminary work suggest that the fSampEn method can be used to derive the respiration waveform from the respiratory muscle electrical activity.

Keywords: Band-pass filters, Electrocardiography, Electromyography, Entropy, Mouth, Muscles, Protocols


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Garcia-Casado, J., Sarlabous, L., Prats-Boluda, G., Jané, R., (2015). Evaluation of sternocleidomastoid muscle activity by electromyography recorded with concentric ring electrodes CASEIB Proceedings XXXIII Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB 2015) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (Madrid, Spain) , 183-186

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.


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Sarlabous, L., Jané, R., (2015). Respiratory signal derived from the smartphone built-in accelerometer during a Respiratory Load Protocol Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Milan, Italy) , 6768-6771

The scope of our work focuses on investigating the potential use of the built-in accelerometer of the smartphones for the recording of the respiratory activity and deriving the respiratory rate. Five healthy subjects performed an inspiratory load protocol. The excursion of the right chest was recorded using the built-in triaxial accelerometer of a smartphone along the x, y and z axes and with an external uniaxial accelerometer. Simultaneously, the respiratory airflow and the inspiratory mouth pressure were recorded, as reference respiratory signals. The chest acceleration signal recorded in the z axis with the smartphone was denoised using a scheme based on the ensemble empirical mode decomposition, a noise data assisted method which decomposes nonstationary and nonlinear signals into intrinsic mode functions. To distinguish noisy oscillatory modes from the relevant modes we use the detrended fluctuation analysis. We reported a very strong correlation between the acceleration of the z axis of the smartphone and the reference accelerometer across the inspiratory load protocol (from 0.80 to 0.97). Furthermore, the evaluation of the respiratory rate showed a very strong correlation (0.98). A good agreement was observed between the respiratory rate estimated with the chest acceleration signal from the z axis of the smartphone and with the respiratory airflow signal: Bland-Altman limits of agreement between -1.44 and 1.46 breaths per minute with a mean bias of -0.01 breaths per minute. This preliminary study provides a valuable insight into the use of the smartphone and its built-in accelerometer for respiratory monitoring.

Keywords: Acceleration, Accelerometers, Correlation, Empirical mode decomposition, Fluctuations, Protocols, Time series analysis


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.


Estrada, Luis, Torres, Abel, Sarlabous, Leonardo, Fiz, Jose A., Gea, Joaquim, Martinez-Llorens, Juana, Jané, Raimon, (2014). Estimation of bilateral asynchrony between diaphragm mechanomyographic signals in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 36th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Chicago, USA) , 3813-3816

The aim of the present study was to measure bilateral asynchrony in patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) performing an incremental inspiratory load protocol. Bilateral asynchrony was estimated by the comparison of respiratory movements derived from diaphragm mechanomyographic (MMGdi) signals, acquired by means of capacitive accelerometers placed on left and right sides of the rib cage. Three methods were considered for asynchrony evaluation: Lissajous figure, Hilbert transform and Motto's algorithm. Bilateral asynchrony showed an increase at 20, 40 and 60% (values of normalized inspiratory pressure by their maximum value reached in the last inspiratory load) while the very severe group showed and increase at 20, 40, 80, and 100 % during the protocol. These increments in the phase's shift can be due to an increase of the inspiratory load along the protocol, and also as a consequence of distress and fatigue. In summary, this work evidenced the capability to estimate bilateral asynchrony in COPD patients. These preliminary results also showed that the use of capacitive accelerometers can be a suitable sensor for recording of respiratory movement and evaluation of asynchrony in COPD patients.

Keywords: Accelerometers, Diseases, Estimation, Fatigue, IP networks, Protocols, Transforms


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Jané, R., (2014). Evaluación de la asincronía bilateral y toracoabdominal mediante señales mecanomiográficas CASEIB Proceedings XXXII Congreso Anual de la Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (CASEIB 2014) , Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica (Barcelona, Spain) , 1-4

Este estudio tiene como objetivo evaluar la asincronía en los compartimientos torácico y abdominal, durante la realización de un protocolo respiratorio incremental de presión. La actividad mecanomiográfica fue registrada en el tronco mediante el uso de acelerómetros colocados en la parte izquierda y derecha del tórax y del abdomen. Para extraer la baja frecuencia de las señales mecanomiograficas se utilizó un método basado en la descomposición empírica en modos. Para estudiar la asincronía entre los compartimientos estudiados se utilizaron tres métodos, basados en la figura de Lissajous, la transformada de Hilbert y el algoritmo de Motto. Se observó un aumento de la asincronía toracoabdominal, con el aumento de la carga inspiratoria. Los valores de asincronía encontrados al evaluar el lado izquierdo con el derecho tanto en el diafragma como en el abdomen fueron menores de 40°, mientras que al comparar tanto el lado izquierdo como el derecho entre el tórax y el abdomen estos exhibieron valores menores a 80°. En conclusión, este trabajo demuestra que con un aumento de la carga inspiratoria puede presentarse un aumento de asincronía entre diferentes regiones del tronco. Además, el uso de acelerómetros para el registro de la dinámica respiratoria puede llegar a ser una herramienta complementaria a las actuales como la pletismografía de inductancia respiratoria, debido a su más sencilla manipulación.


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.


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Garcia-Casado, J., Prats-Boluda, G., Yiyao, Ye-Lin, Jané, R., (2014). Evaluation of Laplacian diaphragm electromyographic recording in a dynamic inspiratory maneuver Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 36th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Chicago, USA) , 2201-2204

The analysis of the electromyographic signal of the diaphragm muscle (EMGdi) can provide important information for evaluating the respiratory muscular function. The EMGdi can be recorded using surface Ag/AgCl disc electrodes in monopolar or bipolar configuration. However, these non-invasive EMGdi recordings are usually contaminated by the electrocardiographic (ECG) signal. EMGdi signal can also be noninvasively recorded using concentric ring electrodes in bipolar configuration (CRE) that estimate Laplacian surface potential. Laplacian recordings increase spatial resolution and attenuate distant bioelectric interferences, such as the ECG. Thus, the objective of this work is to compare and to evaluate CRE and traditional bipolar EMGdi recordings in a healthy subject during a dynamic inspiratory maneuver with incremental inspiratory loads. In the conducted study, it was calculated the cumulative percentage of power spectrum of EMGdi recordings to determine the signal bandwidth, and the power ratio between the EMGdi signal segments with and without cardiac activity. The results of this study suggest that EMGdi acquired with CRE electrodes is less affected by the ECG interference, achieves a wider bandwidth and a higher power ratio between segments without cardiac activity and with cardiac activity.

Keywords: Bandwidth, Electric potential, Electrocardiography, Electrodes, Interference, Laplace equations, Muscles


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


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


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Garcia-Casado, J., Ye-Lin, Y., Jané, R., (2014). Evaluation of Laplacian diaphragm electromyographic recordings in a static inspiratory maneuver IFMBE Proceedings XIII Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing 2013 (ed. Roa Romero, Laura M.), Springer International Publishing (London, UK) 41, 977-980

Diaphragm electromyography (EMGdi) provides important information on diaphragm activity, to detect neuromuscular disorders of the most important muscle in the breathing inspiratory phase. EMGdi is habitually recorded using needles or esophageal catheters, with the implication of being invasive for patients. Surface electrodes offer an alternative for the non-invasive assessment of diaphragm activity. Ag/AgCl surface disc electrodes are used in monopolar or bipolar configuration to record EMGdi signals. On the other hand, Laplacian surface potential can be estimated by signal recording through active concentric ring electrodes. This kind of recording could reduce physiological interferences, increase the spatial selectivity and reduce orientation problems in the electrode location. The aim of this work is to compare EMGdi signals recorded simultaneously with disc electrodes in bipolar configuration and a Laplacian ring electrode over chest wall. EMGdi signal was recorded in one healthy subject during a breath hold maneuver and a static inspiratory maneuver based on Mueller’s technique. In order to estimate the covered frequency range and the degree of noise contamination in both bipolar and Laplacian EMGdi signals, the cumulative percentage of the power spectrum and the signal to noise ratio in sub-bands were determined. Furthermore, diaphragm fatigue was evaluated by means of amplitude and frequency parameters. Our findings suggest that Laplacian EMGdi recording covers a broader frequency range although with higher noise contamination compared to bipolar EMGdi recording. Finally, in Laplacian recording fatigue indexes showed a clearer trend for muscle fatigue detection and also a reduced cardiac interference, providing an alternative to bipolar recording for diaphragm fatigue studies.

Keywords: Laplacian electrode, Diaphragm muscle, Fatigue, Surface electromyography


Jané, R., Caminal, P., Giraldo, B., Solà, J., Torres, A., (2014). Libro de Actas del CASEIB 2014 XXXII Congreso Anual de la SEIB , CASEIB-IBEC (Barcelona, Spain) , 20

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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.


Estrada, L., Torres, A., Garcia-Casado, J., Prats-Boluda, G., Jané, R., (2013). Characterization of laplacian surface electromyographic signals during isometric contraction in biceps brachii Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Osaka, Japan) , 535-538

Surface electromyography (sEMG) is a noninvasive technique for monitoring the electrical activity produced by the muscles. Usually, sEMG is performed by carrying out monopolar or bipolar recordings by means of conventional Ag/AgCl electrodes. In contrast, Laplacian recordings of sEMG could also be obtained by using coaxial ring electrodes. Laplacian recordings increase spatial resolution and attenuate other distant bioelectric interferences. Nevertheless, the spectral characteristics of this kind of recordings have been scarcely studied. The objective of this paper is to characterize the sEMG signals recorded with a Laplacian ring electrode and to compare them with traditional bipolar recordings with disc electrodes. Both kinds of signals were collected simultaneously in two healthy subjects during resting and sustained isometric voluntary contraction activities in biceps brachii. The conducted study computed the cumulative percentage of the power spectrum of sEMG so as to determine the energy bandwidth of the two kinds of recordings and the signal to noise ratio in different bands of the sEMG spectrum. Also, muscle fatigue, a condition when muscle force is reduced, was assessed using indexes from amplitude and frequency domain. The results of this study suggest that Laplacian sEMG has higher spectral bandwidth but a lower signal to noise ratio in comparison to bipolar sEMG. In addition, frequency fatigue indexes showed that Laplacian recording had better response than bipolar recording, which suggests that Laplacian electrode can be useful to study muscular fatigue due to better spatial resolution.


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.


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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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


Correa, L. S., Laciar, E., Mut, V., Giraldo, B. F., Torres, A., (2010). Multi-parameter analysis of ECG and Respiratory Flow signals to identify success of patients on weaning trials Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 32nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Buenos Aires, Argentina) -----, 6070-6073

Statistical analysis, power spectral density, and Lempel Ziv complexity, are used in a multi-parameter approach to analyze four temporal series obtained from the Electrocardiographic and Respiratory Flow signals of 126 patients on weaning trials. In which, 88 patients belong to successful group (SG), and 38 patients belong to failure group (FG), i.e. failed to maintain spontaneous breathing during trial. It was found that mean values of cardiac inter-beat and breath durations give higher values for SG than for FG; Kurtosis coefficient of the spectrum of the rapid shallow breathing index is higher for FG; also Lempel Ziv complexity mean values associated with the respiratory flow signal are bigger for FG. Patients were then classified with a pattern recognition neural network, obtaining 80% of correct classifications (81.6% for FG and 79.5% for SG).

Keywords: Electrocardiography, Medical signal processing, Neural nets, Pattern recognition, Pneumodynamics, Signal classification, Statistical analysis, ECG, Kurtosis coefficient, Lempel Ziv complexity, Breath durations, Cardiac interbeat durations, Electrocardiography, Multiparameter analysis, Pattern recognition neural network, Power spectral density, Respiratory flow signals, Signal classification, Spontaneous breathing, Statistical analysis, Weaning trials


Torres, A., Sarlabous, L., Fiz, j A., Gea, J., Marti nez-Llorens, J. M., Morera, J., Jané, R., (2010). Noninvasive measurement of inspiratory muscle performance by means of diaphragm muscle mechanomyographic signals in COPD patients during an incremental load respiratory test Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 32nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Buenos Aires, Argentina) , 2493-2496

The study of mechanomyographic (MMG) signals of respiratory muscles is a promising noninvasive technique in order to evaluate the respiratory muscular effort and efficiency. In this work, the MMG signal of the diaphragm muscle it is evaluated in order to assess the respiratory muscular function in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients. The MMG signals from left and right hemidiaphragm were acquired using two capacitive accelerometers placed on both left and right sides of the costal wall surface. The MMG signals and the inspiratory pressure signal were acquired while the COPD patients carried out an inspiratory load respiratory test. The population of study is composed of a group of 6 patients with severe COPD (FEV1>50% ref and DLCO<50% ref). We have found high positive correlation coefficients between the maximum inspiratory pressure (IPmax) developed in a respiratory cycle and different amplitude parameters of both left and right MMG signals (RMS, left: 0.68+/-0.11 - right: 0.69+/-0.12; Re nyi entropy, left: - 0.73+/-0.10 - right: 0.77+/-0.08; Multistate Lempel-Ziv, left: 0.73+/-0.17 - right: 0.74+/-0.08), and negative correlation between the Pmax and the maximum frequency of the MMG signal spectrum (left: -0.39+/-0.19 - right: -0.65+/-0.09). Furthermore, we found that the slope of the evolution of the MMG amplitude parameters, as the load increases during the respiratory test, has positive correlation with the %FEV1/FVC pulmonary function test parameter of the six COPD patients analyzed (RMS, left: 0.38 - right: 0.41; Re nyi entropy, left: 0.45 - right: 0.63; Multistate Lempel-Ziv, left: 0.39 - right: 0.64). These results suggest that the information provided by MMG signals could be used in order to evaluate the respiratory effort and the muscular efficiency in COPD patients.

Keywords: Accelerometers, Biomechanics, Biomedical measurement, Diseases, Medical signal processing, Muscle


Sellares, J., Acerbi, I., Loureiro, H., Dellaca, R. L., Ferrer, M., Torres, A., Navajas, D., Farre, R., (2009). Respiratory impedance during weaning from mechanical ventilation in a mixed population of critically ill patients British Journal of Anaesthesia 103, (6), 828-832

Worsening of respiratory mechanics during a spontaneous breathing trial (SBT) has been traditionally associated with weaning failure, although this finding is based on studies with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients only. The aim of our study was to assess the course of respiratory impedance non-invasively measured by forced oscillation technique (FOT) during a successful and failed SBT in a mixed population. Thirty-four weaning trials were reported in 29 consecutive mechanically ventilated patients with different causes of initiation of ventilation. During the SBT, the patient was breathing through a conventional T-piece connected to the tracheal tube. FOT (5 Hz, +/- 1 cm H2O, 30 s) was applied at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 min. Respiratory resistance (Rrs) and reactance (Xrs) were computed from pressure and flow measurements. The frequency to tidal volume ratio f/V-t was obtained from the flow signal. At the end of the trial, patients were divided into two groups: SBT success and failure. Mixed model analysis showed no significant differences in Rrs and Xrs over the course of the SBT, or between the success (n=16) and the failure (n=18) groups. In contrast, f/V-t was significantly (P < 0.001) higher in the failure group. Worsening of respiratory impedance measured by FOT is not a common finding during a failed SBT in a typically heterogeneous intensive care unit population of mechanically ventilated patients.

Keywords: Ventilation, High frequency oscillation, Ventilation, Mechanical, Ventilation, Respiratory impedance


Diez, P. F., Mut, V., Laciar, E., Torres, A., Avila, E., (2009). Application of the empirical mode decomposition to the extraction of features from EEG signals for mental task classification Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Minneapolis, USA) , 2579-2582

In this work, it is proposed a technique for the feature extraction of electroencephalographic (EEG) signals for classification of mental tasks which is an important part in the development of Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI). The Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) is a method capable to process nonstationary and nonlinear signals as the EEG. This technique was applied in EEG signals of 7 subjects performing 5 mental tasks. For each mode obtained from the EMD and each EEG channel were computed six features: Root Mean Square (RMS), Variance, Shannon Entropy, Lempel-Ziv Complexity Value, and Central and Maximum Frequencies, obtaining a feature vector of 180 components. The Wilks' lambda parameter was applied for the selection of the most important variables reducing the dimensionality of the feature vector. The classification of mental tasks was performed using Linear Discriminate Analysis (LD) and Neural Networks (NN). With this method, the average classification over all subjects in database was 91±5% and 87±5% using LD and NN, respectively. It was concluded that the EMD allows getting better performances in the classification of mental tasks than the obtained with other traditional methods, like spectral analysis.

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Orosco, L., Laciar, E., Correa, A. G., Torres, A., Graffigna, J. P., (2009). An epileptic seizures detection algorithm based on the empirical mode decomposition of EEG Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Minneapolis, USA) , 2651-2654

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects around 50 million people worldwide. The seizure detection is an important component in the diagnosis of epilepsy. In this study, the Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) method was proposed on the development of an automatic epileptic seizure detection algorithm. The algorithm first computes the Intrinsic Mode Functions (IMFs) of EEG records, then calculates the energy of each IMF and performs the detection based on an energy threshold and a minimum duration decision. The algorithm was tested in 9 invasive EEG records provided and validated by the Epilepsy Center of the University Hospital of Freiburg. In 90 segments analyzed (39 with epileptic seizures) the sensitivity and specificity obtained with the method were of 56.41% and 75.86% respectively. It could be concluded that EMD is a promissory method for epileptic seizure detection in EEG records.

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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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Correa, L. S., Laciar, E., Mut, V., Torres, A., Jané, R., (2009). Sleep apnea detection based on spectral analysis of three ECG - Derived respiratory signals Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Minneapolis, USA) , 4723-4726

An apnea detection method based on spectral analysis was used to assess the performance of three ECG derived respiratory (EDR) signals. They were obtained on R wave area (EDR1), heart rate variability (EDR2) and R peak amplitude (EDR3) of ECG record in 8 patients with sleep apnea syndrome. The mean, central, peak and first quartile frequencies were computed from the spectrum every 1 min for each EDR. For each frequency parameter a threshold-based decision was carried out on every 1 min segment of the three EDR, classifying it as 'apnea' when its frequency value was below a determined threshold or as 'not apnea' in other cases. Results indicated that EDR1, based on R wave area has better performance in detecting apnea episodes with values of specificity (Sp) and sensitivity (Se) near 90%; EDR2 showed similar Sp but lower Se (78%); whereas EDR3 based on R peak amplitude did not detect appropriately the apneas episodes reaching Sp and Se values near 60%.

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Diez, Pablo F., Laciar, Eric, Mut, Vicente, Avila, Enrique, Torres, Abel, (2008). A comparative study of the performance of different spectral estimation methods for classification of mental tasks 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, 1155-1158

In this paper we compare three different spectral estimation techniques for the classification of mental tasks. These techniques are the standard periodogram, the Welch periodogram and the Burg method, applied to electroencephalographic (EEG) signals. For each one of these methods we compute two parameters: the mean power and the root mean square (RMS), in various frequency bands. The classification of the mental tasks was conducted with a linear discriminate analysis. The Welch periodogram and the Burg method performed better than the standard periodogram. The use of the RMS allows better classification accuracy than the obtained with the power of EEG signals.

Keywords: Adult, Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Cognition, Electroencephalography, Female, Humans, Male, Pattern Recognition, Automated, Reproducibility of Results, Sensitivity and Specificity, Task Performance and Analysis, User-Computer Interface


Correa, L. S., Laciar, E., Torres, A., Jané, R., (2008). Performance evaluation of three methods for respiratory signal estimation from the electrocardiogram 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, 4760-4763

A comparative study of three methods for estimating respiratory signal through electrocardiogram (ECG) was carried out. The three methods analyzed were based on R wave area, R peak amplitude and heart rate variability (HRV). For each method, cross-correlation coefficient and spectral coherence in a range of frequencies up to 0.5 Hz were computed between the ECG derived respiratory signals (EDR) and the three real respiratory signals: oronasal, and two inductance plethysmographies recordings (chest and abdominal). Results indicate that EDR methods based on R wave area and HRV are better correlated and show a wider spectral coherence with real respiratory signals than the other EDR method based on R peak amplitude.

Keywords: Obstructive sleep-apnea


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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