Unobtrusive and inexpensive technologies for monitoring the cardiovascular health of heart failure (HF) patients outside the clinic can potentially improve their continuity of care by enabling therapies to be adjusted dynamically based on the changing needs of the patients. Specifically, cardiac contractility and stroke volume (SV) are two key aspects of cardiovascular health that change significantly for HF patients as their condition worsens, yet these parameters are typically measured only in hospital/clinical settings, or with implantable sensors. In this work, we demonstrate accurate measurement of cardiac contractility (based on pre-ejection period, PEP, timings) and SV changes in subjects using ballistocardiogram (BCG) signals detected via a high bandwidth force plate. The measurement is unobtrusive, as it simply requires the subject to stand still on the force plate while holding electrodes in the hands for simultaneous electrocardiogram (ECG) detection. Specifically, we aimed to assess whether the high bandwidth force plate can provide accuracy beyond what is achieved using modified weighing scales we have developed in prior studies, based on timing intervals, as well as signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) estimates. Our results indicate that the force plate BCG measurement provides more accurate timing information and allows for better estimation of PEP than the scale BCG (r2
= 0.85 vs. r2
= 0.81) during resting conditions. This correlation is stronger during recovery after exercise due to more significant changes in PEP (r2
= 0.92). The improvement in accuracy can be attributed to the wider bandwidth of the force plate. ∆SV (i.e.
, changes in stroke volume) estimations from the force plate BCG resulted in an average error percentage of 5.3% with a standard deviation of ±4.2% across all subjects. Finally, SNR calculations showed slightly better SNR in the force plate measurements among all subjects but the small difference confirmed that SNR is limited by motion artifacts rather than instrumentation.
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