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Open AccessArticle

An EMD-Based Algorithm for Emboli Detection in Echo Doppler Audio Signals

Department of Information Engineering, Università Politecnicà delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche 12, 60131 Ancona, Italy
DAN Europe Foundation Research Division, Sir Ugo Mifsud Street, XBX 1431 Ta’ Xbiex, Malta
LIF Srl, Via di Porto 159, 50018 Scandicci, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Electronics 2019, 8(8), 824;
Received: 2 July 2019 / Revised: 20 July 2019 / Accepted: 20 July 2019 / Published: 24 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Circuit and Signal Processing)
PDF [1506 KB, uploaded 26 July 2019]


Divers’ health state after underwater activity can be assessed after the immersion using precordial echo Doppler examination. An audio analysis of the acquired signals is performed by specialist doctors to detect circulating gas bubbles in the vascular system and to evaluate the decompression sickness risk. Since on-site medical assistance cannot always be guaranteed, we propose a system for automatic emboli detection using a custom portable device connected to the echo Doppler instrument. The empirical mode decomposition method is used to develop a real-time algorithm able to automatically detect embolic events and, consequently, assess the decompression sickness risk according to the Spencer’s scale. The proposed algorithm has been tested according to an experimental protocol approved by the Divers Alert Network. It involved 30 volunteer divers and produced 37 echo Doppler files useful for the algorithm’s performances evaluation. The results obtained by the proposed emboli detection algorithm (83% sensitivity and 76% specificity) make the system particularly suitable for real-time evaluation of the decompression sickness risk level. Furthermore, the system could also be used in continuous monitoring of hospitalized patients with embolic risks such as post surgery ones. View Full-Text
Keywords: emboli detection; decompression sickness; empirical mode decomposition method emboli detection; decompression sickness; empirical mode decomposition method

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Pierleoni, P.; Palma, L.; Belli, A.; Pieri, M.; Maurizi, L.; Pellegrini, M.; Marroni, A. An EMD-Based Algorithm for Emboli Detection in Echo Doppler Audio Signals. Electronics 2019, 8, 824.

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