Doctoral dissertation

Javier Gracia-Tabuenca: Monitoring asthma in small children while they sleep at home by using impedance pneumography

Javier Gracia-Tabuenca.
Impedance pneumography enables for the first time the continuous recording of respiratory flow during the night at home. The analysis of the nocturnal respiratory signal opens new possibilities for the assessment of respiratory conditions. This is particularly advantageous for the monitoring young children and infants, who are unable to perform adults’ tests such as forced spirometry.

Inhaling increases the proportion of air in the lung tissue which increases its electrical impedance. Impedance pneumography uses four skin surface electrodes to measures these changes in thoracic electrical impedance and derive the respiratory signal. Previous research at Tampere University of Technology (TUT) has brought a series of improvements to this old instrumentation technique making it more accurate, and portable. This research lead to a commercial device (Ventica®). Such device enables for the first time recording respiratory flow during sleep at home. Recording during sleep allows to monitor the symptoms of obstructive diseases overnight, when they are known to worsen.

However, due to the previous lack of technology able to record long-term airflow, little is known about how sleep physiology affects the respiratory signal and if sleep undermines the ability of impedance pneumography to detect obstruction in asthmatic children and infants.

In his thesis, Javier Gracia-Tabuenca reviews the literature on these works, which study changes in the respiratory signal associated with airway obstruction, maturation, or sleep. The literature’s lack of studies on obstruction and sleep was completed with three original articles. He also discusses a theoretical frame to explain the results found in our studies and the literature and to suggestions improve future works.

“I believe that impedance pneumography technology holds great potential an that this thesis set the bases for future work in this promising technology,” Javier Gracia-Tabuenca says.

The doctoral dissertation of Javier Gracia-Tabuenca in the field of biomedical engineering titled Impedance pneumography for the nocturnal assessment of lower airway obstruction will be publicly examined in the Faculty of Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology at Tampere University 4th of December 2020, at 12 o’clock.  The Opponents will be Professor Pasi Karjalainen from University of Eastern Finland and Professor Tuomas Jartti from University of Turku. The Custos will be University Lecturer Jari Viik Tampere University.

The dissertation is available online:

The event can be followed via remote connection (Zoom).

Photo: Jonne Renvall/University of Tampere