Convolutive blind source separation of surface EMG measurements of the respiratory muscles

Eike Petersen*, Herbert Buchner, Marcus Eger, Philipp Rostalski

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


Electromyography (EMG) has long been used for the assessment of muscle function and activity and has recently been applied to the control of medical ventilation. For this application, the EMG signal is usually recorded invasively by means of electrodes on a nasogastric tube which is placed inside the esophagus in order to minimize noise and crosstalk from other muscles. Replacing these invasive measurements with an EMG signal obtained non-invasively on the body surface is difficult and requires techniques for signal separation in order to reconstruct the contributions of the individual respiratory muscles. In the case of muscles with small cross-sectional areas, or with muscles at large distances from the recording site, solutions to this problem have been proposed previously. The respiratory muscles, however, are large and distributed widely over the upper body volume. In this article, we describe an algorithm for convolutive blind source separation (BSS) that performs well even for large, distributed muscles such as the respiratory muscles, while using only a small number of electrodes. The algorithm is derived as a special case of the TRINICON general framework for BSS. To provide evidence that it shows potential for separating inspiratory, expiratory, and cardiac activities in practical applications, a joint numerical simulation of EMG and ECG activities was performed, and separation success was evaluated in a variety of noise settings. The results are promising.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomedizinische Technik
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2017


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