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Vol. 9, Special Issue, December 2010, pp.182-199



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



Instituto de Telecomunicações, Instituto Superior Técnico

Av. Rovisco Pais 1, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal

Tel.: +351 21 841 84 54, fax: +351 21 841 84 72

E-mail: eduardo.pinheiro@lx.it.pt



Received: 27 September 2010   /Accepted: 30 November 2010   /Published: 30 December 2010


Abstract: 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.


Keywords: Ballistocardiography, Electrocardiography, Plethysmography, Unobtrusive measurements, Wheelchair sensors


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