PWM-based Transthoracic Bioimpedance Analyzer for Detecting Heart Failures

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Patients that suffer from heart failure can benefit from wearable monitoring devices that continuouslymonitor the condition of the heart. One of the foremost symptoms of exacerbation of the heart is fluidcongestion in the lungs. One of the method to measure a change in biological tissue, such as thebuild­up of fluids in the lungs and chest, is bioimpedance measurements. By injecting an alternatingcurrent into the tissue, a voltage develops across the tissue that is proportional to the impedance ofthe biological tissue, the bioimpedance. Conventional bioimpedance measurement techniques are notsuitable for continuous monitoring of the patients as they are power consuming and hinder patient intheir daily living.This thesis proposes an alternative approach that is based on a pulse width modulation (PWM) inorder to convert the measured analog signals to time signals. To determine the measured bioimped­ance, the magnitude and phase should be derived. The proposed design employs one channel toconvert the measured voltage across the bioimpedance to a PWM signal. As this PWM signal con­tains the amplitude information of the measured voltage, the magnitude of the bioimpedance can bederived. Furthermore, a second reference channel is employed where a known resistive reference isconverted to another PWM signal. By comparing the two PWM signals, the phase of the bioimpedancecan be determined. The proposed system requires only a comparator and triangular wave in order toconvert the measured analog signals, compared to the complex implementation of the conventionallyused analog­to­digital converter.In order to validate the design, the circuit is simulated and implemented on a printed circuit board (PCB). The PCB operates correctly on 3.3V and, additionally, an voltage­controlled current sourceis implemented and connected externally to the PCB to provide an excitation current of 100μA and10kHz to the circuit. The circuit should be capable of measuring the voltage across a device under test(퐷푈푇) that consist of resistive and capacitive components. This is because the bioimpedance can bemodelled by the Fricke­Morse model, which consist of a resistor in parallel with a capacitor and resistorin series. The implemented PCB can measure 퐷푈푇 magnitudes up to 1kΩ and is determine the phaseshift between the two PWM signals.This work shows an important contribution towards a wearable continuous bioimpedance measure­ments system to monitor patient that suffer from heart failure. It has been shown that the presenteddesign can measure the magnitude and phase that are required to determine the measured bioimped­ance, and also reduce complexity of the measurements instrumentation.