Color Spectrographic Analysis of Respiratory Sounds: A Promising Technology for Respiratory Monitoring

Daniel J. Doyle1, *

1 Department of General Anesthesiology, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, Abu Dhabi

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Creative Commons License
© 2020 Daniel J. Doyle.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of General Anesthesiology, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, USA, E-mail:



The need for reliable respiratory monitoring has increased in recent years with the frequent use of opioids for perioperative pain management as well as a high prevalence of patients suffering from respiratory comorbidities.


Motivated by the success of acoustical color spectrographic techniques in other knowledge domains, we sought to build proof-of-concept systems for the computer-based color spectrographic analysis of respiratory sounds, recorded from various sites.


We used a USB miniature electret microphone and a Windows-based color spectrographic analysis package to obtain color spectrograms for breath sound recordings from the neck, from an oxygen mask, from the ear canal, and from a leak-free microphone pneumatically connected to the cuff of a laryngeal mask airway.


Potentially useful color spectrographic displays were obtained from all four recording sites, although the spectrograms obtained varied in their characteristics. It was also found that obtaining high-quality color spectrograms requires attention to a number of technical details.


Color spectrographic analysis of respiratory sounds is a promising future technology for respiratory monitoring.

Keywords: Bio-acoustics, Breath sounds, Color spectrograms, Electronic sound analysis, Respiratory monitoring, Pain management.