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Ann Biomed Eng. 2013 Oct;41(10):2229-36. doi: 10.1007/s10439-013-0827-1. Epub 2013 May 22.

Investigating relative respiratory effort signals during mixed sleep apnea using photoplethysmogram.

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Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia.


Sleep disordered breathing does show different types of events. These are obstructive apnea events, central apnea events and mixed sleep apnea (MSA) which have a central component with a pause in airflow without respiratory effort followed by an obstructive component with respiratory effort. The esophageal pressure (Pes) is the accurate method to assess respiratory effort. The aim of the present study is to investigate whether the features extracted from photo-plethysmogram (PPG) could relate with the changes in Pes during MSA. Therefore, Pes and PPG signals during 65 pre-scored MSA events and 10 s preceding the events were collected from 8 patients. Pulse intervals (PPI), Pulse wave amplitudes (PWA) and wavelet decomposition (Wv) of PPG signals at level 8 (0.15-0.32 Hz) were derived from PPG signals. Results show that significant correlations (r = 0.63, p < 0.01; r = 0.42, p < 0.05; r = 0.8, p < 0.01 for OSA part) were found between reductions in Pes and that in PPG based surrogate respiratory signals PPI, PWA and Wv. Results suggest that PPG based relative respiratory effort signal can be considered as an alternative to Pes as a means of measuring changes in inspiratory effort when scoring OSA and CSA parts of MSA events.

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