Automated bowel sound analysis: An overview

Jan Krzysztof Nowak*, Robert Nowak, Kacper Radzikowski, Ireneusz Grulkowski, Jaroslaw Walkowiak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Despite technological progress, we lack a consensus on the method of conducting automated bowel sound (BS) analysis and, consequently, BS tools have not become available to doctors. We aimed to briefly review the literature on BS recording and analysis, with an emphasis on the broad range of analytical approaches. Scientific journals and conference materials were researched with a specific set of terms (Scopus, MEDLINE, IEEE) to find reports on BS. The research articles identified were analyzed in the context of main research directions at a number of centers globally. Automated BS analysis methods were already well developed by the early 2000s. Accuracy of 90% and higher had been achieved with various analytical approaches, including wavelet transformations, multi-layer perceptrons, independent component analysis and autoregressive-moving-average models. Clinical research on BS has exposed their important potential in the non-invasive diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, in surgery, and for the investigation of gastrointestinal motility. The most recent advances are linked to the application of artificial intelligence and the development of dedicated BS devices. BS research is technologically mature, but lacks uniform method-ology, an international forum for discussion and an open platform for data exchange. A common ground is needed as a starting point. The next key development will be the release of freely available benchmark datasets with labels confirmed by human experts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5294
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug 2


  • Automated analysis
  • Bowel sound
  • Intestine
  • Motility
  • Recording

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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