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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2013 Jan;25(1):79-83. doi: 10.1111/nmo.12012. Epub 2012 Sep 13.

Comparison of filtering methods for extracellular gastric slow wave recordings.

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Auckland Bioengineering Institute, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.



Extracellular recordings are used to define gastric slow wave propagation. Signal filtering is a key step in the analysis and interpretation of extracellular slow wave data; however, there is controversy and uncertainty regarding the appropriate filtering settings. This study investigated the effect of various standard filters on the morphology and measurement of extracellular gastric slow waves.


Experimental extracellular gastric slow waves were recorded from the serosal surface of the stomach from pigs and humans. Four digital filters: finite impulse response filter (0.05-1 Hz); Savitzky-Golay filter (0-1.98 Hz); Bessel filter (2-100 Hz); and Butterworth filter (5-100 Hz); were applied on extracellular gastric slow wave signals to compare the changes temporally (morphology of the signal) and spectrally (signals in the frequency domain).


The extracellular slow wave activity is represented in the frequency domain by a dominant frequency and its associated harmonics in diminishing power. Optimal filters apply cutoff frequencies consistent with the dominant slow wave frequency (3-5 cpm) and main harmonics (up to ≈ 2 Hz). Applying filters with cutoff frequencies above or below the dominant and harmonic frequencies was found to distort or eliminate slow wave signal content.


Investigators must be cognizant of these optimal filtering practices when detecting, analyzing, and interpreting extracellular slow wave recordings. The use of frequency domain analysis is important for identifying the dominant and harmonics of the signal of interest. Capturing the dominant frequency and major harmonics of slow wave is crucial for accurate representation of slow wave activity in the time domain. Standardized filter settings should be determined.

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