Measuring facial grimacing for quantifying patient agitation in critical care
The effective delivery of sedation in critical care relies primarily on an accurate and consistent measure of a patient's agitation level. However, current methods for assessing agitation are subjective and prone to error, often leading to over sedation or cycles between agitation and oversedation. This paper builds on previous work developing agitation sensors based on heart rate and blood pressure variability, and overall whole body motion. In this research, the focus is on real-time measurement of high-resolution facial changes that are observed to occur in agitation. An algorithm is developed that measures the degree of facial grimacing from a single digital camera. The method is demonstrated on simulated patient facial motion to prove the concept. A consistent measure is obtained that is robust to significant random head movement and compares well against visual observation of different levels of grimacing. The method provides a basis for clinical validation.