Tidal spirometric curves obtained from a nasal cannula

Rutger H.J. Hebbink*, Rob Hagmeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
111 Downloads (Pure)


Spirometry is a gold standard to assess lung function, and to identify respiratory impairments seen in obstructive lung diseases. The method is used for periodic monitoring, but it only provides snapshot information, and it requires forceful exhalation which is associated with limited reliability and repeatability. Several studies indicate that tidal flow-volume curves measured by pneumotachography or plethysmography can also be used to assess lung function. These methods avoid the forced manoeuvre, but are complex to set up or sensitive to movement. In the present work we address the long-standing problem of the unavailability of an easy-to-use and accurate method for monitoring tidal breathing frequently or even continuously. We show that pressure recordings from a nasal cannula can be accurately converted into scaled flow-volume curves by means of an algorithm that continuously calibrates itself. The method has been validated by feeding realistic healthy and unhealthy breathing patterns to anatomically correct 3D-printed upper airways of an infant and an adult, and by comparing the imposed flow-volume curves to the pressure-derived flow-volume curves. The observed very high level of accuracy opens the route towards remotely monitoring patients with chronic lung diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalMedical engineering & physics
Early online date16 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Flow-volume curves
  • Obstructive lung diseases
  • Nasal cannula
  • Tidal spirometry
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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