In this review paper we reviewed the literature on algorithms for estimating respiratory rate from the electrocardiogram (ECG) and photoplethysmogram (PPG). A comprehensive review of the subject is provided, with recommendations for future research.


Breathing rate (BR) is a key physiological parameter used in a range of clinical settings. Despite its diagnostic and prognostic value, it is still widely measured by counting breaths manually. A plethora of algorithms have been proposed to estimate BR from the electrocardiogram (ECG) and pulse oximetry (photoplethysmogram, PPG) signals. These BR algorithms provide opportunity for automated, electronic, and unobtrusive measurement of BR in both healthcare and fitness monitoring. This paper presents a review of the literature on BR estimation from the ECG and PPG. First, the structure of BR algorithms and the mathematical techniques used at each stage are described. Second, the experimental methodologies that have been used to assess the performance of BR algorithms are reviewed, and a methodological framework for the assess- ment of BR algorithms is presented. Third, we outline the most pressing directions for future research, including the steps required to use BR algorithms in wearable sensors, remote video monitoring, and clinical practice.

Link to full text

Charlton P.H. et al. Breathing Rate Estimation From the Electrocardiogram and Photoplethysmogram: A Review, IEEE Reviews in Biomedical Engineering, 11, pp. 2-20, 2018

Replicating the analyses

Much of this study can be replicated by following the instructions here.