Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 15–24 | Cite as

Acoustic thoracic image of crackle sounds using linear and nonlinear processing techniques

  • Sonia Charleston-Villalobos
  • Guadalupe Dorantes-Méndez
  • Ramón González-Camarena
  • Georgina Chi-Lem
  • José G. Carrillo
  • Tomás Aljama-Corrales
Original Article


In this study, a novel approach is proposed, the imaging of crackle sounds distribution on the thorax based on processing techniques that could contend with the detection and count of crackles; hence, the normalized fractal dimension (NFD), the univariate AR modeling combined with a supervised neural network (UAR-SNN), and the time-variant autoregressive (TVAR) model were assessed. The proposed processing schemes were tested inserting simulated crackles in normal lung sounds acquired by a multichannel system on the posterior thoracic surface. In order to evaluate the robustness of the processing schemes, different scenarios were created by manipulating the number of crackles, the type of crackles, the spatial distribution, and the signal to noise ratio (SNR) at different pulmonary regions. The results indicate that TVAR scheme showed the best performance, compared with NFD and UAR-SNN schemes, for detecting and counting simulated crackles with an average specificity very close to 100%, and average sensitivity of 98 ± 7.5% even with overlapped crackles and with SNR corresponding to a scaling factor as low as 1.5. Finally, the performance of the TVAR scheme was tested against a human expert using simulated and real acoustic information. We conclude that a confident image of crackle sounds distribution by crackles counting using TVAR on the thoracic surface is thoroughly possible. The crackles imaging might represent an aid to the clinical evaluation of pulmonary diseases that produce this sort of adventitious discontinuous lung sounds.


Discontinuous adventitious sound imaging Lung sound Fine and coarse crackles Time-variant autoregressive model Fractal dimension 


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonia Charleston-Villalobos
    • 1
  • Guadalupe Dorantes-Méndez
    • 1
  • Ramón González-Camarena
    • 2
  • Georgina Chi-Lem
    • 3
  • José G. Carrillo
    • 3
  • Tomás Aljama-Corrales
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Electrical EngineeringUniversidad Autónoma MetropolitanaMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.Department of Health ScienceUniversidad Autónoma MetropolitanaMexico CityMexico
  3. 3.National Institute of Respiratory DiseasesMexico CityMexico

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