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Sensors 2018, 18(5), 1541; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18051541

Monitoring of Cardiorespiratory Signals Using Thermal Imaging: A Pilot Study on Healthy Human Subjects

1
Chair for Medical Information Technology, Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstr. 20, D-52074 Aachen, Germany
2
Department of Anesthesiology, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstr. 30, D-52074 Aachen, Germany
3
Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics (CIIRC), CTU Prague, Zikova street 1903/4, 166 36 Prague, Czech Republic
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 April 2018 / Revised: 5 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 May 2018 / Published: 13 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Infrared Imaging: From Sensors to Applications)
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Abstract

Heart rate (HR) and respiratory rate (RR) are important parameters for patient assessment. However, current measurement techniques require attachment of sensors to the patient’s body, often leading to discomfort, stress and even pain. A new algorithm is presented for monitoring both HR and RR using thermal imaging. The cyclical ejection of blood flow from the heart to the head (through carotid arteries and thoracic aorta) leads to periodic movements of the head; these vertical movements are used to assess HR. Respiratory rate is estimated by using temperature fluctuations under the nose during the respiratory cycle. To test the viability and feasibility of this approach, a pilot study was conducted with 20 healthy subjects (aged 18–36 and 1 aged 50 years). The study consisted of two phases: phase A (frontal view acquisitions) and phase B (side view acquisitions). To validate the results, photoplethysmography and thoracic effort (piezoplethysmography) were simultaneously recorded. High agreement between infrared thermography and ground truth/gold standard was achieved. For HR, the root-mean-square errors (RMSE) for phases A and B were 3.53 ± 1.53 and 3.43 ± 1.61 beats per minute, respectively. For RR, the RMSE between thermal imaging and piezoplethysmography stayed around 0.71 ± 0.30 breaths per minute (phase A). This study demonstrates that infrared thermography may be a promising, clinically relevant alternative for the assessment of HR and RR. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermal imaging; infrared thermography; infrared imaging; contactless measurement; heart rate; respiratory rate thermal imaging; infrared thermography; infrared imaging; contactless measurement; heart rate; respiratory rate
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Barbosa Pereira, C.; Czaplik, M.; Blazek, V.; Leonhardt, S.; Teichmann, D. Monitoring of Cardiorespiratory Signals Using Thermal Imaging: A Pilot Study on Healthy Human Subjects. Sensors 2018, 18, 1541.

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