Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 38, Issue 12, pp 3744–3755

On Non-Invasive Measurement of Gastric Motility from Finger Photoplethysmographic Signal


  • S. Mohamed Yacin
    • Touch Lab, Department of Applied MechanicsIndian Institute of Technology Madras
    • Touch Lab, Department of Applied MechanicsIndian Institute of Technology Madras
  • V. Srinivasa Chakravarthy
    • Computational Neuroscience Lab, Department of BiotechnologyIndian Institute of Technology Madras

DOI: 10.1007/s10439-010-0113-4

Cite this article as:
Mohamed Yacin, S., Manivannan, M. & Srinivasa Chakravarthy, V. Ann Biomed Eng (2010) 38: 3744. doi:10.1007/s10439-010-0113-4


This article investigates the possibility of extracting gastric motility (GM) information from finger photoplethysmographic (PPG) signals non-invasively. Now-a-days measuring GM is a challenging task because of invasive and complicated clinical procedures involved. It is well-known that the PPG signal acquired from finger consists of information related to heart rate and respiratory rate. This thread is taken further and effort has been put here to find whether it is possible to extract GM information from finger PPG in an easier way and without discomfort to the patients. Finger PPG and GM (measured using Electrogastrogram, EGG) signals were acquired simultaneously at the rate of 100 Hz from eight healthy subjects for 30 min duration in fasting and postprandial states. In this study, we process the finger PPG signal and extract a slow wave that is analogous to actual EGG signal. To this end, we chose two advanced signal processing approaches: first, we perform discrete wavelet transform (DWT) to separate the different components, since PPG and EGG signals are non-stationary in nature. Second, in the frequency domain, we perform cross-spectral and coherence analysis using autoregressive (AR) spectral estimation method in order to compare the spectral details of recorded PPG and EGG signals. In DWT, a lower frequency oscillation (≈0.05 Hz) called slow wave was extracted from PPG signal which looks similar to the slow wave of GM in both shape and frequency in the range (0–0.1953) Hz. Comparison of these two slow wave signals was done by normalized cross-correlation technique. Cross-correlation values are found to be high (range 0.68–0.82, SD 0.12, R = 1.0 indicates exact agreement, p < 0.05) for all subjects and there is no significant difference in cross-correlation between fasting and postprandial states. The coherence analysis results demonstrate that a moderate coherence (range 0.5–0.7, SD 0.13, p < 0.05) exists between EGG and PPG signal in the “slow wave” frequency band, without any significant change in the level of coherence in postprandial state. These results indicate that finger PPG signal contains GM-related information. The findings are sufficiently encouraging to motivate further exploration of finger PPG as a non-invasive source of GM-related information.


AR spectral estimationCross-correlationDiscrete wavelet transformElectrogastrographyEnteric nervous systemGastric myoelectric activityMagnitude squared coherenceSlow wave

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© Biomedical Engineering Society 2010