A novel, contactless, portable "spot-check" device accurately measures respiratory rate

William Daw, Ruth N. Kingshott, Reza Saatchi, Derek Burke, Robert Evans, Alan Holloway, Jon Travis, Anthony Jones, Ben Hughes, Heather E. Elphick

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Abstract Respiratory rate (RR) is an important vital sign used in the initial and ongoing assessment of acutely ill patients. It is also used as a predictor of serious deterioration in a patient's clinical condition. Convenient electronic devices exist for measurement of pulse, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and temperature. Although devices which measure RR exist, none has entered everyday clinical practice. We have developed a contactless portable respiratory rate monitor (CPRM) and evaluated the agreement in respiratory rate measurements between existing methods and our new device. The CPRM uses thermal anemometry to measure breath signals during inspiration and expiration. RR data were collected from 52 healthy adult volunteers using respiratory inductance plethysmography (RIP) bands (established contact method), visual counting of chest movements (established noncontact method), and the CPRM (new method), simultaneously. Two differently shaped funnel attachments to the CPRM were evaluated for each volunteer. Data showed a good agreement between measurements from the CPRM and the gold standard RIP, with intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC): 0.836, mean difference 0.46 and 95% limits of agreement of −5.90 to 6.83. When separate air inlet funnels of the CPRM were analyzed, stronger agreement was seen with an elliptical air inlet; ICC 0.908, mean difference 0.37 with 95% limits of agreement −4.35 to 5.08. A contactless device for accurately and quickly measuring respiratory rate will be an important triage tool in the clinical assessment of patients. More testing is needed to explore the reasons for outlying measurements and to evaluate in the clinical setting.
Original languageEnglish
Article number031002
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Devices
Issue number3
Early online date14 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2020


  • biomedical engineering
  • medicine (miscellaneous)

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