Video-Based Physiologic Monitoring During an Acute Hypoxic Challenge: Heart Rate, Respiratory Rate, and Oxygen Saturation

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The physiologic information contained in the video photoplethysmogram is well documented. However, extracting this information during challenging conditions requires new analysis techniques to capture and process the video image streams to extract clinically useful physiologic parameters. We hypothesized that heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation trending can be evaluated accurately from video information during acute hypoxia.


Video footage was acquired from multiple desaturation episodes during a porcine model of acute hypoxia using a standard visible light camera. A novel in-house algorithm was used to extract photoplethysmographic cardiac pulse and respiratory information from the video image streams and process it to extract a continuously reported video-based heart rate (HRvid), respiratory rate (RRvid), and oxygen saturation (SvidO2). This information was then compared with HR and oxygen saturation references from commercial pulse oximetry and the known rate of respiration from the ventilator.


Eighty-eight minutes of data were acquired during 16 hypoxic episodes in 8 animals. A linear mixed-effects regression showed excellent responses relative to a nonhypoxic reference signal with slopes of 0.976 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.973–0.979) for HRvid; 1.135 (95% CI, 1.101–1.168) for RRvid, and 0.913 (95% CI, 0.905–0.920) for video-based oxygen saturation. These results were obtained while maintaining continuous uninterrupted vital sign monitoring for the entire study period.


Video-based monitoring of HR, RR, and oxygen saturation may be performed with reasonable accuracy during acute hypoxic conditions in an anesthetized porcine hypoxia model using standard visible light camera equipment. However, the study was conducted during relatively low motion. A better understanding of the effect of motion and the effect of ambient light on the video photoplethysmogram may help refine this monitoring technology for use in the clinical environment.

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