14 September 2015
Continuous respiratory monitoring is important to assess adequate ventilation. We present a fiber optic-based smart textile for respiratory monitoring able to work during Magnetic Resonance (MR) examinations. The system is based on the conversion of chest wall movements into strain of two fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors, placed on the upper thorax (UT). FBGs are glued on the textile by an adhesive silicon rubber. To increase the system sensitivity, the FBGs positioning was led by preliminary experiments performed using an optoelectronic system: FBGs placed on the chest surface experienced the largest strain during breathing. System performances, in terms of respiratory period (T R), duration of inspiratory (T I) and expiratory (T E) phases, as well as left and right UT volumes, were assessed on four healthy volunteers. The comparison of results obtained by the proposed system and an optoelectronic plethysmography highlights the high accuracy in the estimation of T R, T I, and T E: Bland-Altman analysis shows mean of difference values lower than 0.045 s, 0.33 s, and 0.35 s for T R, T I, and T E, respectively. The mean difference of UT volumes between the two systems is about 8.3%. The promising results foster further development of the system to allow routine use during MR examinations.