A low-complexity PPG pulse detection method for accurate estimation of the pulse rate variability (PRV) during sudden decreases in the signal amplitude
Argüello Prada, Erick Javier
Paredes Higinio, Alejandro
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Background: One of the biggest obstacles to reliable pulse rate variability (PRV) analysis is the erroneous detection of photoplethysmographic (PPG) pulses. Among all the disturbances that may hinder pulse detection, the ripples appearing at the smooth segments of the PPG signal can become a serious problem when the amplitude of the signal decreases considerably. Objective: To present a low-complexity PPG pulse detection method for reliable PRV estimation under conditions in which a sudden decrease in the amplitude of the PPG signal can be expected. Approach: 2-min ECG and PPG data (sampling rate at 500 Hz) were obtained from thirty healthy subjects, who were asked to take a deep inspiration to provoke a sudden amplitude decrease (SAD) of the PPG signal. After introducing a new parameter denoted as C, through which it is possible to jump over the ripples hindering the accurate detection of the systolic peaks, 500 Hz-sampled PPG recordings were down-sampled (400, 300, 200 and 100 Hz) to investigate the effect of the sampling rate on pulse detection. For ECG recordings, automatic R-peak detection was performed by the Pan and Tompkins (PT) algorithm, whereas PPG pulse detection was performed by the well-known maximum of the first derivative (M1D) and the proposed method, once the C-value for best detection results on 500 Hz-sampled PPG recordings was found. The agreement between heart rate variability (HRV) and PRVs estimated from each pulse detection method was assessed and the correlation between HRV and PRV-derived indexes was computed for comparison. Main results: The proposed method can perform well on PPG-SAD segments, provided that the proper value of the parameter C is used. Moreover, a good agreement between HRV and PRV series, as well as lower relative errors and higher correlation coefficients between HRV and PRV indexes, were achieved by the proposed pulse detection method during SADs. Significance: Results show that the proposed method can dynamically adapt to circumstances in which a decrease in the amplitude of the PPG signal can be expected, providing continuous systolic peak detection and reliable PRV estimation under those conditions. However, more extensive testing under a wide range of conditions is needed to perform a more rigorous validation.