Beatriz Barros, Ana Aguiar, Daniel E. Lucani


The development of biomedical signal processing algorithms typically assumes that the data can be sampled at an uniform rate and without loss of samples. Although this is a valid assumption for Holter applications or clinical testing, these assumptions become questionable in the presence of remote monitoring of patients through inherently lossy communication networks. The task for the networking engineers has been to create better, more reliable protocols to avoid packet losses from affecting the signal processing algorithms. However, inherent constraints from resource-constrained devices and lossy networks used for remote monitoring make this objective infeasible in many situations. Given irreparable losses due to data transmission, this paper poses the following questions: (i) how would the current algorithms react to losses, and (ii) what alternatives are available to still guarantee reliable monitoring and detection of emergency events. For the latter, we consider two options: the use of current algorithms after a loss concealment stage, and the design of loss aware algorithms. We argue that a joint design of network protocols and signal processing algorithms is instrumental for providing reliable biomedical monitoring. We propose a simple, yet powerful model of the network under a variety of packet loss channels as well as data packetization mechanisms. Extensive numerical results are provided for addressing question (i), focusing on the sensitivity and positive predictivity of standard ECG algorithms under a variety of network scenarios. We use the MIT-BIH arrhythmia database and simple loss concealment mechanisms and show that even small percentages of packet losses can have a significant impact on a algorithm’s performance.


  1. Alesanco, A. and Garca, J. (2010). Clinical assessment of wireless ecg transmission in real-time cardiac telemonitoring. IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine, 14(5):1144-1152.
  2. Hu, X., Wang, J., Yu, Q., Liu, W., and Qin, J. (2009). A wireless sensor network based on zigbee for telemedicine monitoring system. In The 2nd International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedical Engineering, pages 1367-1370.
  3. Moody, G. and Mark, R. (1990). The MIT-BIH arrhythmia database on cd-rom and software for use with it. In Computers in Cardiology, pages 185-188.
  4. Moody, G., Mark, R., and Goldberger, A. (2000). Physionet: a research resource for studies of complex physiologic and biomedical signals. In Computers in Cardiology, pages 179-182.
  5. Pan, J. and Tompkins, W. (1985). A real-time qrs detection algorithm. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 32(3):230 -236.
  6. Pandian, P. S., Safeer, K. P., Gupta, P., Shakunthala, D. T., Sundersheshu, B. S., and Padaki, V. C. (2008). Wireless sensor network for wearable physiological monitoring. Journal of Networks, 3(5).
  7. Perkins, C., Hodson, O., and Hardman, V. (1998). A survey of packet loss recovery techniques for streaming audio. IEEE Network, 12(5):40 -48.
  8. Prieto-Guerrero, A., Mailhes, C., and Castanié, F. (2007). Lost sample recovering of ecg signals in e-health applications. In The 29-th Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS, pages 31-34.
  9. Stuart, E., Moh, M., and Moh, T. S. (2008). Privacy and security in biomedical applications of wireless sensor networks. In First International Symposium on Applied Sciences on Biomedical and Communication Technologies, pages 1-5.
  10. Theera-Umpon, N., Phiphatkhunarnon, P., and Auephanwiriyakul, S. (2008). Data reconstruction for missing electrocardiogram using linear predictive coding. IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics and Automation (ICMA), pages 638-643.

Paper Citation

in Harvard Style

Barros B., Aguiar A. and E. Lucani D. (2012). NETWORK-AWARE BIOMEDICAL SIGNAL PROCESSING - Loss Concealment or Loss Awareness . In Proceedings of the International Conference on Health Informatics - Volume 1: HEALTHINF, (BIOSTEC 2012) ISBN 978-989-8425-88-1, pages 318-325. DOI: 10.5220/0003876503180325

in Bibtex Style

author={Beatriz Barros and Ana Aguiar and Daniel E. Lucani},
title={NETWORK-AWARE BIOMEDICAL SIGNAL PROCESSING - Loss Concealment or Loss Awareness},
booktitle={Proceedings of the International Conference on Health Informatics - Volume 1: HEALTHINF, (BIOSTEC 2012)},

in EndNote Style

JO - Proceedings of the International Conference on Health Informatics - Volume 1: HEALTHINF, (BIOSTEC 2012)
SN - 978-989-8425-88-1
AU - Barros B.
AU - Aguiar A.
AU - E. Lucani D.
PY - 2012
SP - 318
EP - 325
DO - 10.5220/0003876503180325