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Biomedical Signals & Systems

Agung W. Setiawan
Biomedical Signal
Biomedical signal as some
natural (endogenous) or manmade (exogenous),
record that carries information about the internal functioning of a biomedical
A signal can be
a system input, or
a system output
as the result of one or more inputs, or carry information about a system state
In physiological systems, a signal can be
an electrical potential,
a force, a torque,
a length or pressure, or
a chemical concentration of ions or of molecules including hormones or cytokines.
in the form of nerve impulses that lead to the contraction of muscles or the release of
neurotransmitters or hormones.
In an optical system, a signal can vary with position (x, y, z) as well as with time, t,
and wavelength, .
Biomedical Signal
Acquired by a sensor, a transducer, or an electrode, and is
converted to voltage / current for processing and storage.
Endogenous signals are continuous (analog).
Blood velocity in an artery measured by Doppler ultrasound.
Biomedical signals are invariably noisy because of
Interfering signals from the body,
Noise picked up from the environment,
Noise arising in electrodes and from signal conditioning
Hormones as Biomedical Signal
A type of physiological signal.
Quantified by its concentration in a compartment,
such as the blood or extracellular fluid.
Usually used as control substances as part of a closed-
loop physiological regulatory system.
The protein hormone insulin,
secreted by the pancreatic beta cells,
acts on cells carrying insulin receptor molecules on their cell
membranes to increase the rate of diffusion of glucose from the
blood or extracellular fluid into those cells.
[Northrop, 2000].
Analog Biomedical Signal
After initial acquisition and conditioning, analog
signal may be converted to discrete form by ADC.
In discrete form, a signal can be more easily
processed numerically by
discrete filtering or
other nonlinear discrete transforms.
Discrete signals are very important because of
the ability of DSP algorithms to reveal their properties
in the time, frequency and joint time-frequency
Signals from physiological systems
Endogenous biomedical signals from physiological systems are acquired
for a number of reasons:
For purposes of diagnosis
For postsurgical intensive care monitoring
For neonatal monitoring
To guide therapy and for research
Such signals include,
nerve action potentials,
muscle force,
blood pressure,
Signals can also be rates or frequencies derived from other signals; e.g.,
heart rate and
respiratory rate.
hemoglobin psO
blood pCO
blood glucose concentration,
concentrations of various hormones & ions in body
heart sounds,
breath sounds, etc.
Frequency of Biomedical Signal
In general, the frequency of endogenous
physiological signals range from nearly dc (1.2x10

Hz or 12 Hz, a period of 24 h) to several kHz.
This apparent low frequency is offset in many cases
by massively parallel and redundant signal pathways
in the body (as in the case of motor neurons
innervating muscles).
Signals from physiological systems have another property
nonstationary (NS).
NS The physical, biochemical and physiological processes that
contribute to their origins change in time.
Example: Arterial blood pressure (ABP).
The ABP has a waveform with the almost-periodic rhythm of the heartbeat.
Many physiological factors affect the heart rate and the hearts stroke volume;
The bodys vasomotor tone is under control by the autonomic nervous system.
The time of day (diurnal rhythm), emotional state, blood concentration of
hormones (epinephrine & norepinephrine), blood pH, exercise, respiratory
rate, diet, drugs, blood volume and water intake all affect the ABP.
Over a short interval of several minutes, ABP waveform is relatively
invariant in shape and period short-term stationary (STS).
In fact, many physiological signals can be treated as STS; others change so
rapidly that the STS assumption is not valid.
For example, certain breath sounds which change from breath to breath
should be treated as NS.
Signals from man-made instruments
Energy (photons, sound, radioactivity) is put into the
body to measure physiological parameters and
Doppler ultrasound, used to estimate blood velocity in
arteries and veins, (5 to 10 MHz).
The transducers, filters, amplifiers, mixers, etc., used in a
Doppler system must operate in the 5 to 10 MHz range.
The blood velocity Doppler signal itself lies in the
audio frequency range [Northrop, 2002].
Some ways to describe signals
There are many ways to characterize 1-D & 2-D signals,
signals that vary as a function of time, or
spatial dimensions x and y.
A signal can be described in terms of its
statistical amplitude properties,
its frequency properties and,
if non-stationary,
its time-frequency properties.
The signal itself can be
a voltage (ECG record),
a chemical concentration (e.g., calcium ions in the blood),
a fluid pressure (e.g., blood pressure),
a sound pressure (e.g., the first heart sound), etc.
A set of interacting or interdependent components forming an
integrated whole or a set of elements and relationships which are
different from relationships of the set or its elements to other
elements or sets.
Some systems share common characteristics, including:
A system has structure, it contains parts (or components) that are
directly or indirectly related to each other;
A system has behavior, it contains processes that transform inputs into
outputs (material, energy or data);
A system has interconnectivity: the parts and processes are connected
by structural and/or behavioral relationships.
A system's structure and behavior may be decomposed via subsystems
and sub-processes to elementary parts and process steps.
The term system may also refer to a set of rules that governs
structure and/or behavior.
The common feature of all systems is that each one is
formed from a collection of interconnected,
interacting, interdependent, dynamic elements.
The elements can be physical entities such as
mechanical components (springs, masses, dashpots),
electronic circuits (resistors, capacitors, op amps, etc.), or
abstract, causal relations such as those found in
A system can be continuous (i.e., analog) or discrete
(i.e., digital).
System & Signal Processing
An area of systems engineering, electrical engineering and applied
mathematics that deals with operations on or analysis of analog as well as
digitized signals, representing time-varying or spatially varying physical
Signals of interest can include sound, electromagnetic radiation, images,
and sensor readings, for example biological measurements such as
electrocardiograms, control system signals, telecommunication
transmission signals, and many others.
The goals of signal processing can roughly be divided into the following
Signal acquisition and reconstruction, which involves measuring a physical
signal, storing it, and possibly later rebuilding the original signal or an
approximation thereof.
For digital systems, this typically includes sampling and quantization.
Quality improvement, such as noise reduction, image enhancement, and echo
Signal compression (Source coding), including audio compression, image
compression, and video compression.
Feature extraction, such as image understanding and speech recognition.
Biology & Medicine System
In biology and medicine, many
systems can be identified.
It is important to realize that
none of these systems is isolated;
all physiological systems are
interconnected to some degree.
Each system has identifiable
components which interact.
Each also has one or more inputs
(excitations or commands) and
one or more parameters which
can be considered to be outputs
Some of these inputs and outputs
are observable signals, others are