Estimation of the respiratory rate from ballistocardiograms using the Hilbert transform

Onno Linschmann, Steffen Leonhardt, Antti Vehkaoja, Christoph Hoog Antink

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    Background: Measuring the respiratory rate is usually associated with discomfort for the patient due to contact sensors or a high time demand for healthcare personnel manually counting it. Methods: In this paper, two methods for the continuous extraction of the respiratory rate from unobtrusive ballistocardiography signals are introduced. The Hilbert transform is used to generate an amplitude-invariant phase signal in-line with the respiratory rate. The respiratory rate can then be estimated, first, by using a simple peak detection, and second, by differentiation. Results: By analysis of a sleep laboratory data set consisting of nine records of healthy individuals lasting more than 63 h and including more than 59,000 breaths, a mean absolute error of as low as 0.7 BPM for both methods was achieved. Conclusion: The results encourage further assessment for hospitalised patients and for home-care applications especially with patients suffering from diseases of the respiratory system like COPD or sleep apnoea.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number54
    JournalBioMedical Engineering Online
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Ballistocardiography
    • Instantaneous breathing frequency
    • Respiration

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
    • Biomaterials
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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