LSTM Multi-Stage Transfer Learning for Blood Pressure Estimation Using Photoplethysmography

Noor Faris Ali, Mohamed Atef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Considerable research has been devoted to developing machine-learning models for continuous Blood Pressure (BP) estimation. A challenging problem that arises in this domain is the selection of optimal features with interpretable models for medical professionals. The aim of this study was to investigate evidence-based physiologically motivating features based on a solid physiological background of BP determinants. A powerful and compact set of features encompassing six physiologically oriented features was extracted in addition to another set of features consisting of six commonly used features for comparison purposes. In this study, we proposed a BP predictive model using Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) networks with multi-stage transfer learning approach. The proposed model topology consists of three cascaded stages. First, a BP classification stage. Second, a Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP) regression stage to further approximate a quantity proportional to Vascular Resistance (VR) using the extracted Cardiac Output (CO) from the PPG signal. Third, the main BP estimation stage. The final stage (final BP prediction) is able to exploit embedded correlations between BP and the proposed features along with derived outputs carrying hemodynamic characteristics through the sub-sequence stages. We also constructed traditional single-stage Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and LSTM-based models to appraise the performance gain of our proposed model. The models were tested and evaluated on 40 subjects from the MIMIC II database. The LSTM-based multi-stage model attained a MAE ± SD of 2.03 ± 3.12 for SBP and 1.18 ± 1.70 mmHg for DBP. The proposed set of features resulted in drastic error reduction, of up to 86.21%, compared to models trained on the commonly used features. The superior performance of the proposed multi-stage model provides confirmatory evidence that the selected transferable features among the stages coupled with the high-performing multi-stage topology enhance blood pressure estimation accuracy using PPG signals. This indicates the compelling nature and sufficiency of the proposed efficient features set.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3749
JournalElectronics (Switzerland)
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • ANN
  • LSTM
  • MAP
  • PPG
  • cardiac output
  • transfer learning
  • vascular resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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