Journal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 431–436 | Cite as

Age and Gender Do Not Influence the Ability to Detect Respiration by Photoplethysmography

  • Lena Nilsson
  • Tomas Goscinski
  • Anders Johansson
  • Lars-Göran Lindberg
  • Sigga Kalman



The non-invasive technique photopl- ethysmography (PPG) can detect changes in blood volume and perfusion in a tissue. Respiration causes variations in the peripheral circulation, making it possible to monitor breaths using an optical sensor attached to the skin. The respiratory-synchronous part of the PPG signal (PPGr) has been used to monitor respiration during anaesthesia, and in postoperative and neonatal care. Studies addressing possible differences in PPGr signal characteristics depending on gender or age are lacking.


We studied three groups of 16 healthy subjects each during normal breathing; young males, old males and young females, and calculated the concordance between PPGr, derived from a reflection mode PPG sensor on the forearm, and a reference CO2 signal. The concordance was quantified by using a squared coherence analysis. Time delay between the two signals was calculated. In this process, we compared three different methods for calculating time delay.


Coherence values ≥0.92 were seen for all three groups without any significant differences depending on age or gender (p = 0.67). Comparison between the three different methods for calculating time delay showed a correlation r = 0.93.


These results demonstrate clinically important information implying the possibility to register qualitative PPGr signals for respiration monitoring, regardless of age and gender.

Key words

photoplethysmography monitoring respiration gender age 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lena Nilsson
    • 1
  • Tomas Goscinski
    • 1
  • Anders Johansson
    • 2
  • Lars-Göran Lindberg
    • 2
  • Sigga Kalman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive CareLinköping University HospitalLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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