Detection of Apnoea in Newborn Infants using Impedance Respiratory Wave Data

John Mikael Eklund, Christina Catley, Carolyn McGregor, and Andrew James


Neonatal intensive care, Computer aided diagnostics, apnoea, impedance respiratory waveform, respiratory rate


Apnoea is a serious condition that occurs frequently in prematurely born infants as well as other patients requiring critical care. At least while in the intensive care environment, these patients are provided with constant care assisted by modern medical monitoring systems. The systems record continuous data from each patient, however most of these data are not used except when a care provider observes the device directly, or when an alert -- that is used to draw the attention of those same providers -- is generated. This paper explores how these continuous data streams can be used in real-time to provide better alert mechanisms and diagnostics, with particular focus on the impedance respiratory waveform, a high rate physiological stream that measures the expansion and contraction of the patient's chest and is traditionally used to determine the respiratory rate. The direct use of this data stream is compared to the derived respiratory rate as a means to estimate the onset of a suspected case of apnoea.

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