Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 42–47

Estimation of respiratory volumes from the photoplethysmographic signal. Part I: experimental results

  • A. Johansson
  • P. Å. Öberg

DOI: 10.1007/BF02513264

Cite this article as:
Johansson, A. & Öberg, P.Å. Med. Biol. Eng. Comput. (1999) 37: 42. doi:10.1007/BF02513264


To evaluate the possibility of respiratory-volume measurement using photoplethysmography (PPG), PPG signals from 16 normal volunteers are collected, and the respiratory-induced intensity variations (RIIV) are digitally extracted. The RIIV signals are studied while reepiratory volume is varied. Furthermore, respiratory rate, body posture and type of respiration are varied. A Fleisch pneumotachograph is used as the inspired volume reference. The RIIV and pneumotachography signals are compared, and a statisical analysis is performed (linear regression and t-tests). The key idea is that the amplitude of the RIIV signal is related to the respiratory volume. The conclusion from the measurements is that there exists a relationship between the amplitude of the RIIV signal and the respiratory volume (R=0.842, s=0.428, p<0.005). Absolute measurements of the respiratory volume are not possible from the RIIV signal with the present set-up. The RIIV signal also seems to be affected by respiratory rate and type. More knowledge about respiratory parameters and improved sensor and filter design are required to make absolute measurements of volumes possible.


Photoplethysmography Non-invasive measurements Respiratory volume Clinical monitoring 

Copyright information

© IFMBE 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Johansson
    • 1
  • P. Å. Öberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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