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A Survey on Unobtrusive Measurements of the Cardiovascular Function and their Practical Implementation in Wheelchairs

Pinheiro, E.C. ; Postolache, O. ; Girão, P.M.

Sensors & Transducers Magazine Vol. 9, Nº 12, pp. 182 - 199, December, 2010.

ISSN (print): 2306-8515
ISSN (online): 1726-5479

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Continuous monitoring of cardiovascular parameters is a growing necessity in developed countries. However, continuous monitoring implies the usage of obtrusive methods, inappropriate for extended periods. To be able to unobtrusively assess the body’s cardiovascular and respiratory activity is a long-pursued ambition of utmost significance in patient healthcare. Systems able to be embedded in objects of daily use have been developed and improved recently, seeking to achieve this goal.

Solutions based in ballistocardiography, contactless electrocardiography, photo and impedance plethysmography, and others, have been emerging, or re-emerging, as reliable unobtrusive sources of data. In this paper the latest advances obtained on inconspicuously assessing a subject’s cardiovascular function are described. The key features and concepts are presented, as well as the benefits and limitations of their application for wheelchair users.