Non-Contact, Simple Neonatal Monitoring by Photoplethysmography Articles uri icon

publication date

  • December 2018


  • 12


  • 18

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1424-3210

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1424-8220


  • This paper presents non-contact vital sign monitoring in neonates, based on image processing, where a standard color camera captures the plethysmographic signal and the heart and breathing rates are processed and estimated online. It is important that the measurements are taken in a non-invasive manner, which is imperceptible to the patient. Currently, many methods have been proposed for non-contact measurement. However, to the best of the authors' knowledge, it has not been possible to identify methods with low computational costs and a high tolerance to artifacts. With the aim of improving contactless measurement results, the proposed method based on the computer vision technique is enhanced to overcome the mentioned drawbacks. The camera is attached to an incubator in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a single area in the neonate's diaphragm is monitored. Several factors are considered in the stages of image acquisition, as well as in the plethysmographic signal formation, pre-filtering and filtering. The pre-filter step uses numerical analysis techniques to reduce the signal offset. The proposed method decouples the breath rate from the frequency of sinus arrhythmia. This separation makes it possible to analyze independently any cardiac and respiratory dysrhythmias. Nine newborns were monitored with our proposed method. A Bland-Altman analysis of the data shows a close correlation of the heart rates measured with the two approaches (correlation coefficient of 0.94 for heart rate (HR) and 0.86 for breath rate (BR)) with an uncertainty of 4.2 bpm for HR and 4.9 for BR (k = 1). The comparison of our method and another non-contact method considered as a standard independent component analysis (ICA) showed lower central processing unit (CPU) usage for our method (75% less CPU usage).


  • Biology and Biomedicine
  • Robotics and Industrial Informatics


  • image processing; neonatology; imaging photoplethysmography; vital signs; respiratory sinus arrhythmia