Supervisor: Georg Schmolzer
Project: Using a video camera to measure heart rate in newborn infants
Bachelor of Science with Honors in Physiology
What's been the best part of your experience so far?
Being a science student I think a lot of what I learn is strictly textbook learning whereas in the lab I am able to take my knowledge, old and new, and translate it to a real-life scenario. I have been able to develop a balance between both collaboration and independence. Research is a team effort and it's essential to learn how to balance a collaborative effort in the lab with what I'm capable of accomplishing independently. The whole idea of teamwork isn't something you see often in undergraduate classes but I do believe it is something that is necessary to have for graduate school.
What has WCHRI's support through the Foundations for your studentship meant to you?
The studentship has laid down a stepping stone towards my career aspirations and has enabled me to gain a skill set that I can further use in both my personal and professional life. Presentation skills, critical thinking, and collaborative work is something that I am able to take away and use in other areas of my life and this would not have been possible if I had not received the same lab exposure that I did. I am incredibly grateful towards WCHRI and the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation for helping me reach milestones in my educational career that will be an asset towards my future endeavours.
Heart rate remains the most important clinical indicator to evaluate the status of a newborn and is also used to guide any resuscitation efforts needed. Currently, it is monitored using three adhesive electrodes placed in direct contact onto the chest of a newborn infant. These can cause stress, pain, and also damage to the fragile skin of these infants. Colour and volume changes in blood vessels during the cardiac cycle can be measured using a digital video camera and ambient light, making it possible to obtain estimates of heart rate in a non-contact method. This technology has been described in the adult population, however, only one pilot study describing this technology in two stable infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit has been reported. A recent pilot study by our group showed an achieved accuracy of 1.32% between electrocardiography (ECG) and video recording. Major challenges in our pilot study included movement artefact and noise. The aim of the study is to overcome these challenges and make this technology suitable for use in infants.