Simple Facial Webcam Can Detect Atrial Fibrillation

Jean-Philippe Couderc, PhD, MBA Associate Professor of Medicine Research Associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Rochester, NY Heart Research Follow-Up Program - Cardiology Department Rochester, New-York 14642MedicalResearch.com: Interview with:
Jean-Philippe Couderc, PhD, MBA
Associate Professor of Medicine
Research Associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Rochester, NY
Heart Research Follow-Up Program – Cardiology Department
Rochester, New-York 14642

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Couderc: We have developed a unique technology which enables any individual to evaluate if he/she suffers from atrial fibrillation (AF) by using a simple video camera (webcam). There are approximately 3.2 million people with AF in the US, and estimated 30 million people in the world. It has been shown that around 30% of people suffering from AF are not aware of their disease, this form is called ‘silent’ atrial fibrillation.  AF is a progressive disease leading to stroke and heart failure.  It results in significant morbidity and mortality. The total cost of AF in the US is estimated to $7billion and 75% of this cost is associated with patient hospitalization.


Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Couderc: Women’s make-up reduces the ability of the technology to detect the pulse signal because it is based on the changes in skin color of a women’s face.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Couderc: With our technology, we demonstrated that a 15-sec facial video recording (video selfie) is enough to evaluate if an individual suffers from atrial fibrillation. Therefore, the technology has the potential to become an easy and ubiquitous test for anyone with a tablet, smartphone, or a PC loaded with a web camera. We believe this technology will permit 1) to identify the patient with silent AF and help these patients to be treated at early stage of their disease, and 2) to monitor patients after they receive treatment that stops the AF ( recurrence of AF after cardioversion or ablation).

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Couderc: We conducted a proof of concept study based on a limited number of patients. We need to evaluate the technology in a large prospective clinical trial, to demonstrate its usability and efficacy in specific cohorts of patients who would benefit the most form this technology.  We currently have a proposal for conducting a large clinical trial submitted to the NIH, and we are currently conducting a second study in which we are evaluating the effect of other cardiac arrhythmias on the videoplethysmographic signals.

Citation:
Detection of Atrial Fibrillation Using Contactless Facial Video Monitoring

Jean-Philippe Couderc, PhD, Survi Kyal, MS, Lalit K. Mestha, PhD, Beilei Xu, PhD, Derick R. Peterson, PhD, Xiaojuan Xia, MSc, Burr Hall, MD

Published Online: August 29, 2014

Heart Rhythm DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2014.08.035