Heart Rate Extraction from Abdominal Audio Signals

by   Jake Stuchbury-Wass, et al.

Abdominal sounds (ABS) have been traditionally used for assessing gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. However, the assessment requires a trained medical professional to perform multiple abdominal auscultation sessions, which is resource-intense and may fail to provide an accurate picture of patients' continuous GI wellbeing. This has generated a technological interest in developing wearables for continuous capture of ABS, which enables a fuller picture of patient's GI status to be obtained at reduced cost. This paper seeks to evaluate the feasibility of extracting heart rate (HR) from such ABS monitoring devices. The collection of HR directly from these devices would enable gathering vital signs alongside GI data without the need for additional wearable devices, providing further cost benefits and improving general usability. We utilised a dataset containing 104 hours of ABS audio, collected from the abdomen using an e-stethoscope, and electrocardiogram as ground truth. Our evaluation shows for the first time that we can successfully extract HR from audio collected from a wearable on the abdomen. As heart sounds collected from the abdomen suffer from significant noise from GI and respiratory tracts, we leverage wavelet denoising for improved heart beat detection. The mean absolute error of the algorithm for average HR is 3.4 BPM with mean directional error of -1.2 BPM over the whole dataset. A comparison to photoplethysmography-based wearable HR sensors shows that our approach exhibits comparable accuracy to consumer wrist-worn wearables for average and instantaneous heart rate.


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