Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title





School of Engineering




Du, X., Allwood, G., Webberley, K., Osseiran, A., & Marshall, B. (2018). Bowel sounds identification and migrating motor complex detection with low-cost piezoelectric acoustic sensing device. Sensors, 18(12), 4240.

Available here.


Interpretation of bowel sounds (BS) provides a convenient and non-invasive technique to aid in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal (GI) conditions. However, the approach’s potential is limited by variation between BS and their irregular occurrence. A short, manual auscultation is sufficient to aid in diagnosis of only a few conditions. A longer recording has the potential to unlock additional understanding of GI physiology and clinical utility. In this paper, a low-cost and straightforward piezoelectric acoustic sensing device was designed and used for long BS recordings. The migrating motor complex (MMC) cycle was detected using this device and the sound index as the biomarker for MMC phases. This cycle of recurring motility is typically measured using expensive and invasive equipment. We also used our recordings to develop an improved categorization system for BS. Five different types of BS were extracted: the single burst, multiple bursts, continuous random sound, harmonic sound, and their combination. Their acoustic characteristics and distribution are described. The quantities of different BS during two-hour recordings varied considerably from person to person, while the proportions of different types were consistent. The sensing devices provide a useful tool for MMC detection and study of GI physiology and function.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.