Simultaneous measurement of diaphragm activity, chest impedance, and ECG using three standard cardiorespiratory monitoring electrodes

Anouk W.J. Scholten*, Ruud W. van Leuteren, Frans H. de Jongh, Anton H. van Kaam, Gerard J. Hutten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Current cardiorespiratory monitoring in neonates with electrocardiogram (ECG) and chest impedance (CI) has limitations. Adding transcutaneous electromyography of the diaphragm (dEMG) may improve respiratory monitoring, but requires additional hardware. We aimed to determine the feasibility of measuring dEMG and ECG/CI simultaneously using the standard ECG/CI hardware, with its three electrodes repositioned to dEMG electrode locations. Methods: Thirty infants (median postmenstrual age 30.4 weeks) were included. First, we assessed the feasibility of extracting dEMG from the ECG-signal. If successful, the agreement between dEMG-based respiratory rate (RR), using three different ECG-leads, and a respiratory reference signal was assessed using the Bland-Altman analysis and the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Furthermore, we studied the agreement between CI-based RR and the reference signal with the electrodes placed at the standard and dEMG position. Finally, we explored the quality of the ECG-signal at the different electrode positions. Results: In 15 infants, feasibility of measuring dEMG with the monitoring electrodes was confirmed. In the next 15 infants, comparing dEMG-based RR to the reference signal resulted in a mean difference and limits of agreement for ECG-lead I, II and III of 4.2 [−8.2 to 16.6], 4.3 [−10.7 to 19.3] and 5.0 [–14.2 to 24.2] breaths/min, respectively. ICC analysis showed a moderate agreement for all ECG-leads. CI-based RR agreement was similar at the standard and dEMG electrode position. An exploratory analysis suggested similar quality of the ECG-signal at both electrode positions. Conclusion: Measuring dEMG using the ECG/CI hardware with its electrodes on the diaphragm is feasible, leaving ECG/CI monitoring unaffected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2754-2762
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric pulmonology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • neonates
  • respiration
  • transcutaneous electromyography


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