In-ear photoplethysmography for central pulse waveform analysis in non-invasive hemodynamic monitoring

Timo Tigges 1 , Jonas Rockstroh 1 , Alexandru Pielmuş 1 , Michael Klum 1 , Aarne Feldheiser 2 , Oliver Hunsicker 2  and Reinhold Orglmeister 1
  • 1 Chair of Electronics and Medical Signal Processing, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • 2 Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Charité - University Medicine Berlin, Germany


In recent years, the analysis of the photoplethys-mographic (PPG) pulse waveforms has attracted much research focus. However, the considered signals are primarily recorded at the fingertips, which suffer from reduced peripheral perfusion in situations like hypovolemia or sepsis, rendering waveform analysis infeasible. The ear canal is not affected by cardiovascular centralization and could thus prove to be an ideal alternate measurement site for pulse waveform analysis. Therefore, we developed a novel system that allows for highly accurate photoplethysmographic measurements in the ear canal. We conducted a measurement study in order to assess the signal-to-noise ratio of our developed system Hereby, we achieved a mean SNR of 40.65 dB. Hence, we could show that our system allows for highly accurate PPG recordings in the ear canal facilitating sophisticated pulse waveform analysis. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the pulse decomposition analysis is also applicable to in-ear PPG recordings.

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Journal + Issues

Current Directions in Biomedical Engineering is an open access journal and closely related to the journal Biomedical Engineering - Biomedizinische Technik. CDBME is a forum for the exchange of knowledge in the fields of biomedical engineering, medical information technology and biotechnology/bioengineering for medicine and addresses engineers, natural scientists, and clinicians working in research, industry, or clinical practice.