Detection and analysis of pulse waves during sleep via wrist-worn actigraphy

Johannes Zschocke, Maria Kluge, Luise Pelikan, Antonia Graf, Martin Glos, Alexander Müller, Rafael Mikolajczyk, Ronny P. Bartsch, Thomas Penzel, Jan W. Kantelhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The high temporal and intensity resolution of modern accelerometers gives the opportunity of detecting even tiny body movements via motion-based sensors. In this paper, we demonstrate and evaluate an approach to identify pulse waves and heartbeats from acceleration data of the human wrist during sleep. Specifically, we have recorded simultaneously fullnight polysomnography and 3d wrist actigraphy data of 363 subjects during one night in a clinical sleep laboratory. The acceleration data was segmented and cleaned, excluding body movements and separating episodes with different sleep positions. Then, we applied a bandpass filter and a Hilbert transform to uncover the pulse wave signal, which worked well for an average duration of 1.7 h per subject. We found that 81 percent of the detected pulse wave intervals could be correctly associated with the R peak intervals from independently recorded ECGs and obtained a median Pearson cross-correlation of 0.94. While the lowfrequency components of both signals were practically identical, the high-frequency component of the pulse wave interval time series was increased, indicating a respiratory modulation of pulse transit times, probably as an additional contribution to respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Our approach could be used to obtain long-term nocturnal heartbeat interval time series and pulse wave signals from wrist-worn accelerometers without the need of recording ECG or photoplethysmography. This is particularly useful for an ambulatory monitoring of high-risk cardiac patients as well as for assessing cardiac dynamics in large cohort studies solely with accelerometer devices that are already used for activity tracking and sleep pattern analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0226843
Pages (from-to)e0226843
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the German Israel Foundation (GIF, grants I-1298-415.13/2015 (for JZ and JK) and I-1372- 303.7/2016 (for MG, RB, and TP) and the German National Cohort study (, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Helmholtz Association (for JZ, AM and RM). JZ acknowledges support from a Minerva Short-Term Research Grant. We acknowledge the financial support within the funding programme Open Access Publishing by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Zschocke et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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