Background: Vital signs are critical in assessing the severity and prognosis of infections, for example, COVID-19, influenza, sepsis, and pneumonia. This study aimed to evaluate a new method for rapid camera-based non-contact measurement of heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.
Methods: Consecutive adult patients attending a hospital emergency department for suspected COVID-19 infection were invited to participate. Vital signs measured with a new camera-based method were compared to the corresponding standard reference methods. The camera device observed the patient's face for 30 s from ∼1 m.
Results: Between 1 April and 1 October 2020, 214 subjects were included in the trial, 131 female (61%) and 83 male (39%). The mean age was 44 years (range 18-81 years). The new camera-based device's vital signs measurements were, on average, very close to the gold standard but the random variation was larger than the reference methods.
Conclusions: The principle of contactless measurement of blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation works, which is very promising. However, technical improvements to the equipment used in this study to reduce its random variability is required before clinical implementation. This will likely be a game changer once this is sorted out.
Clinical trial registration: Universal Trial Number (UTN) U1111-1251-4114 and the ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT04383457.
Keywords: COVID-19; blood pressure determination; heart rate determination; oxygen saturation; respiratory rate; vital signs.