Title:
BREATHING PATTERN IDENTIFICATION FOR RESPIRATORY FUNCTION ASSESSMENT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
What is disclosed is a system and method for identifying a patient's breathing pattern for respiratory function assessment without contact and with a depth-capable imaging system. In one embodiment, a time-varying sequence of depth maps are received of a target region of a subject of interest over a period of inspiration and expiration. Once received, the depth maps are processed to obtain a breathing signal for the subject. The subject's breathing signal comprises a temporal sequence of instantaneous volumes. One or more segments of the subject's breathing signal are then compared against one or more reference breathing signals each associated with a known pattern of breathing. As a result of the comparison, a breathing pattern for the subject is identified. The identified breathing pattern is then used to assess the subject's respiratory function. The teachings hereof find their uses in an array of diverse medical applications. Various embodiments are disclosed.



Inventors:
Mestha, Lalit Keshav (Fairport, NY, US)
Shilla, Eribaweimon (Karnataka, IN)
Bernal, Edgar A. (Webster, NY, US)
Pennington, Graham S. (Webster, NY, US)
Madhu, Himanshu J. (Webster, NY, US)
Application Number:
14/044043
Publication Date:
04/02/2015
Filing Date:
10/02/2013
Assignee:
XEROX CORPORATION (Norwalk, CT, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61B5/11; A61B5/00; A61B5/113
View Patent Images:
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20030236474Seizure and movement monitoringDecember, 2003Singh
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20070214015Healthcare managementSeptember, 2007Christian
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Other References:
Aliverti, Andrea, et al. "Optoelectronic plethysmography in intensive care patients.", 2000, American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine 161.5: 1546-1552.
Nozoe, Masafumi, Kyoshi Mase, and Akimitsu Tsutou. "Regional Chest Wall Volume Changes During Various Breathing Maneuvers in Normal Men.", 2011, Journal of the Japanese Physical Therapy Association 14.1: 12-18
Chen, Huijun, et al. "Color structured light system of chest wall motion measurement for respiratory volume evaluation." Journal of biomedical optics 15.2 (2010): 026013-026013.
Primary Examiner:
PORTILLO, JAIRO H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Tong, Rea, Bentley & Kim LLC/Xerox Corporation (12 Christopher Way Suite 105 Eatontown NJ 07724)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for identifying a breathing pattern of a subject for respiratory function assessment in a remote sensing environment, the method comprising: receiving a time-varying sequence of depth maps of a target region of a subject of interest being monitored for respiratory function assessment, said depth maps being of said target region over a period of inspiration and expiration; processing said depth maps to obtain a breathing signal for said subject comprising a temporal sequence of instantaneous volumes across time intervals during inspiratory and expiratory breathing; comparing at least one segment of said subject's breathing signal against a reference breathing signal associated with a known pattern of breathing; and identifying, as a result of said comparison, a breathing pattern for said subject.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein said target region comprises one of: said subject's anterior thoracic region, a region of said subject's dorsal body, and a side view containing said subject's thoracic region.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein said depth maps are obtained from images captured using an image-based depth sensing device comprising any of: a red green blue depth (RGBD) camera, an infrared depth camera, a passive stereo camera, an array of cameras, an active stereo camera, and a 2D monocular video camera.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein said depth maps are obtained from data captured using a non-image-based depth sensing device comprising any of: a LADAR device, a LiDAR device, a photo wave device, and a time-of-flight measurement device.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein said depth maps are obtained from processing video images captured of said target region with patterned clothing using a video camera device comprising any of: a red green blue (RGB) camera, an infrared camera, a multispectral camera, and a hyperspectral camera.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein, in advance of said comparison, filtering said subject's breathing signal to remove unwanted noise.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein said segment comprises at least one of: a dominant cycle of said subject's breathing signal, multiple dominant cycles of said subject's breathing signal, a fraction of one dominant cycle of said subject's breathing signal, multiple fractions of a plurality of dominant cycles, and a phase-shifted portion of said subject's breathing signal.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein said identified breathing pattern is one of: Eupnea, Bradypnea, Tachypnea, Hypopnea, Apnea, Kussmaul, Cheyne-Stokes, Biot's, Ataxic, Apneustic, Agonal, and Thoracoabdominal.

9. The method of claim 1, further comprising using said identified breathing pattern to determine whether said subject has any of: pulmonary fibrosis, pneumothorax, Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome, asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein said instantaneous volumes comprise one of: a calibrated volume and an uncalibrated volume.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein said inspiration is a maximal forced inspiration and said expiration is a maximal forced expiration.

12. The method of claim 1, wherein said inspiration and expiration comprises forced inspiration and forced expiration.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein said reference breathing signal consists of a volume signal generated using a depth capable sensor in one of: a simulated environment by a respiratory expert or a computerized mannequin, and a clinical environment with patients with identified respiratory diseases.

14. A system for identifying a breathing pattern of a subject for respiratory function assessment in a remote sensing environment, the system comprising: a memory and a storage device; and a processor in communication with said memory and said storage device, said processor executing machine readable program instructions for performing: receiving a time-varying sequence of depth maps of a target region of a subject of interest being monitored for respiratory function assessment, said depth maps being of said target region over a period of inspiration and expiration; processing said depth maps to obtain a breathing signal for said subject comprising a temporal sequence of instantaneous volumes across time intervals during inspiratory and expiratory breathing; comparing at least one segment of said subject's breathing signal against a reference breathing signal associated with a known pattern of breathing; and identifying, as a result of said comparison, a breathing pattern for said subject.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein said target region comprises one of: said subject's anterior thoracic region, a region of said subject's dorsal body, and a side view containing said subject's thoracic region.

16. The system of claim 14, wherein said depth maps are obtained from images captured using an image-based depth sensing device comprising any of: a red green blue depth (RGBD) camera, an infrared depth camera, a passive stereo camera, an array of cameras, an active stereo camera, and a 2D monocular video camera.

17. The system of claim 14, wherein said depth maps are obtained from data captured using a non-image-based depth sensing device comprising any of: a LADAR device, a LiDAR device, a photo wave device, and a time-of-flight measurement device.

18. The system of claim 14, wherein said depth maps are obtained from processing video images captured of said target region with patterned clothing using a video camera device comprising any of: a red green blue (RGB) camera, an infrared camera, a multispectral camera, and a hyperspectral camera.

19. The system of claim 14, wherein, in advance of said comparison, filtering said subject's breathing signal to remove unwanted noise.

20. The system of claim 14, wherein said segment comprises at least one of: a dominant cycle of said subject's breathing signal, multiple dominant cycles of said subject's breathing signal, a fraction of one dominant cycle of said subject's breathing signal, multiple fractions of a plurality of dominant cycles, and a phase-shifted portion of said subject's breathing signal.

21. The system of claim 14, wherein said identified breathing pattern is one of: Eupnea, Bradypnea, Tachypnea, Hypopnea, Apnea, Kussmaul, Cheyne-Stokes, Biot's, Ataxic, Apneustic, Agonal, and Thoracoabdominal.

22. The system of claim 14, further comprising using said identified breathing pattern to determine whether said subject has any of: pulmonary fibrosis, pneumothorax, Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome, asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

23. The system of claim 14, wherein said instantaneous volumes comprise one of: a calibrated volume and an uncalibrated volume.

24. The system of claim 14, wherein said reference breathing signal consists of a volume signal generated using a depth capable sensor in one of: a simulated environment by a respiratory expert or a computerized mannequin, and a clinical environment with patients with identified respiratory diseases.

25. The system of claim 14, wherein identifying a breathing pattern for said subject is performed by an artificial intelligence program.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention is directed to systems and methods for identifying a patient's breathing pattern for respiratory function assessment.

BACKGROUND

Monitoring respiratory events is of clinical importance in the early detection of potentially fatal conditions. Current technologies involve contact sensors the individual must wear which may lead to patient discomfort, dependency, loss of dignity, and further may fail due to a variety of reasons. Elderly patients and neonatal infants are even more likely to suffer adverse effects of such monitoring by contact sensors. Unobtrusive, non-contact methods are increasingly desirable for patient respiratory function assessment.

Accordingly, what is needed are systems and methods for identifying a patient's breathing pattern for respiratory function assessment without contact and with a depth-capable imaging system.

INCORPORATED REFERENCES

The following U.S. patents, U.S. patent applications, and Publications are incorporated herein in their entirety by reference.

“Processing A Video For Tidal Chest Volume Estimation”, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/486,637, by Bernal et al. which discloses a system and method for estimating tidal chest volume by analyzing distortions in reflections of structured illumination patterns captured in a video of a thoracic region of a subject of interest.

“Minute Ventilation Estimation Based On Depth Maps”, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/486,682, by Bernal et al. which discloses a system and method for estimating minute ventilation based on depth maps.

“Minute Ventilation Estimation Based On Chest Volume”, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/486,715, by Bernal et al. which discloses a system and method for estimating minute ventilation based on chest volume by analyzing distortions in reflections of structured illumination patterns captured in a video of a thoracic region of a subject of interest.

“Processing A Video For Respiration Rate Estimation”, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/529,648, by Bernal et al. which discloses a system and method for estimating a respiration rate for a subject of interest captured in a video containing a view of that subject's thoracic region.

“Respiratory Function Estimation From A 2D Monocular Video”, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/630,838, by Bernal et al. which discloses a system and method for processing a video acquired using an inexpensive 2D monocular video acquisition system to assess respiratory function of a subject of interest.

“Monitoring Respiration with a Thermal Imaging System”, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/103,406, by Xu et al. which discloses a thermal imaging system and method for capturing a video sequence of a subject of interest, and processing the captured images such that the subject's respiratory function can be monitored.

“Enabling Hybrid Video Capture Of A Scene Illuminated With Unstructured And Structured Illumination Sources”, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/533,605, by Xu et al. which discloses a system and method for enabling the capture of video of a scene illuminated with unstructured and structured illumination sources.

“Contemporaneously Reconstructing Images Captured Of A Scene Illuminated With Unstructured And Structured Illumination Sources”, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/533,678, by Xu et al. which discloses a system and method for reconstructing images captured of a scene being illuminated with unstructured and structured illumination sources.

Respiratory Physiology: The Essentials”, John B. West, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 9th Ed. (2011), ISBN-13: 978-1609136406.

BRIEF SUMMARY

What is disclosed is a system and method for identifying a patient's breathing pattern for respiratory function assessment without contact and with a depth-capable imaging system. In one embodiment, a time-varying sequence of depth maps is received of a target region of a subject of interest over a period of inspiration and expiration. The depth maps are processed to obtain a breathing signal for the subject which comprises a temporal sequence of instantaneous volumes across time intervals during inspiratory and expiratory breathing. One or more segments of the breathing signal are then compared against reference breathing signals, each associated with a known pattern of breathing. As a result of the comparison, a breathing pattern for the subject is identified. The identified breathing pattern is used to assess the subject's respiratory function. The teachings hereof find their uses in a wide array of medical applications.

Many features and advantages of the above-described system and method will become apparent from the following detailed description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing will be made apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings:

FIG. 1 shows an anterior (front) view and a posterior (back) view of a subject of interest intended to be monitored for respiratory function assessment in accordance with the teachings hereof;

FIG. 2 shows the subject of FIG. 1 having a plurality of reflective marks arrayed in a uniform grid on their anterior thoracic region and on their posterior thoracic region;

FIG. 3 shows the subject of FIG. 1 wearing a shirt with a uniform pattern of reflective dots arrayed in uniform grid with a one inch dot pitch along a horizontal and a vertical direction;

FIG. 4 illustrates one embodiment of an example image-based depth sensing device acquiring video images of the target region of the subject of FIG. 3 being monitored for respiratory function assessment;

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram which illustrates one example embodiment of the present method for identifying a breathing pattern of a subject for respiratory function assessment in a remote sensing environment;

FIG. 6 is a continuation of the flow diagram of FIG. 5 with flow continuing with respect to nodes A or B;

FIG. 7 is a functional block diagram of an example networked system for implementing various aspects of the present method described with respect to the flow diagrams of FIGS. 5 and 6;

FIG. 8 shows an example breathing pattern associated with normal breathing (eupnea) as observed normally under resting conditions;

FIG. 9 shows an example Bradypnea breathing pattern characterized by an unusually slow rate of breathing;

FIG. 10 shows an example Tachypnea breathing pattern characterized as an unusually fast respiratory rate;

FIG. 11 shows an example Hypopnea breathing pattern characterized by an abnormally shallow and slow respiration rate;

FIG. 12 shows an example Hyperpnea breathing pattern characterized by an exaggerated deep, rapid, or labored respiration;

FIG. 13 shows an example Thoracoabdominal breathing pattern that involves trunk musculature to “suck” air into the lungs for pulmonary ventilation;

FIG. 14 shows an example Kussmaul breathing pattern characterized by rapid, deep breathing due to a stimulation of the respiratory center of the brain triggered by a drop in pH;

FIG. 15 shows an example Cheyne-Stokes respiration pattern which is characterized by a crescendo-decrescendo pattern of breathing followed by a period of central apnea;

FIG. 16 shows an example Biot's respiration pattern which is characterized by abrupt and irregularly alternating periods of apnea with periods of breathing that are consistent in rate and depth;

FIG. 17 shows an example Ataxic breathing pattern which is a completely irregular breathing pattern with continually variable rate and depth of breathing;

FIG. 18 shows an example Apneustic breathing pattern which is characterized by a prolonged inspiratory phase followed by expiration apnea;

FIG. 19 shows an example Agonal breathing which is abnormally shallow breathing pattern often related to cardiac arrest;

FIG. 20 shows a normal respiration pattern measured via the use of a depth sensing device with the depth maps being processed in accordance with the teachings hereof;

FIG. 21 shows a test subject's Cheyne-Stokes breathing pattern measured using the techniques disclosed herein;

FIG. 22 shows a test subject's Biot's pattern measured using the techniques disclosed herein;

FIG. 23 shows a test subject's Apneustic pattern measured using the present methods; and

FIG. 24 shows a test subject's Agonal breathing pattern measured using the present methods.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

What is disclosed is a system and method for identifying a patient's breathing pattern for respiratory function assessment without contact and with a depth-capable imaging system.

NON-LIMITING DEFINITIONS

A “subject of interest” refers to a person being monitored for respiratory function assessment. It should be appreciated that the use of the terms “human”, “person”, or “patient” herein is not to be viewed as limiting the scope of the appended claims solely to human subjects.

A “target region” refers to an area or region of the subject where respiratory function can be assessed. For example, the target region may be a subject's anterior thoracic region, a region of the subject's dorsal body, and/or a side view containing the subject's thoracic region. It should be appreciated that a target region can be any view of a region of the subject's body which can facilitate respiratory function assessment. FIG. 1 shows an anterior (frontal) view which outlines a target region 102 comprising the subject's anterior thoracic region. Target region 103 is of the subject's posterior thoracic region.

“Respiration”, as is normally understood, is a process of inhaling of air into lungs and exhaling air out of the lungs followed by a post-expiratory pause. Inhalation is an active process caused by a negative pressure having been induced in the chest cavity by the contraction of a relatively large muscle (often called the diaphragm) which changes pressure in the lungs by a forcible expansion of the lung's region where gas exchange takes place (i.e., alveolar cells). Exhalation is a passive process where air is expelled from the lungs by the natural elastic recoil of the stretched alveolar cells. The lining of alveolar cells has a surface-active phospholipoprotein complex which causes the lining of the lungs to naturally contract back to a neutral state once the external force causing the cell to stretch is released. A post-expiratory pause occurs when there is an equalization of pressure between the lungs and the atmosphere.

“Inspiration” occurs when the subject forces the expansion of the thoracic cavity to bring air into their lungs. A maximally forced inspiratory breath is when the subject cannot bring any more air into their lungs.

“Expiration” is when the subject forces the contraction of the thoracic cavity to expel air out of their lungs. A maximally forced expiratory breath is when the subject cannot expel any more air from their lungs.

“Depth map sequence” is a reconstructed temporal sequence of 3D surface maps of a target region of a subject. There is a plurality of techniques known in the art for obtaining a depth map of a target region. For example, a depth map may be constructed based on the amount of deformation in a known pattern comprising, for instance, structured patterns of light projected onto the target region, textural characteristics present on the target region itself such as skin blemishes, scars, markings, and the like, which are detectable by a video camera's detector array. FIG. 2 shows a subject of interest 201 having a plurality of reflective marks arrayed in a uniform pattern 202 on an anterior thoracic region. Subject 203 is shown having a plurality of emissive marks such as LEDs arrayed in a uniform pattern 204 on their posterior thoracic region. The pattern may alternatively be an array of reflective or emissive marks imprinted or otherwise fixed to an item of clothing worn by the subject which emit or reflect a wavelength range detectable by sensors in a video camera's detector array. Reflective marks may be dots of reflective tape, reflective buttons, reflective fabric, or the like. Emissive marks may be LED illuminators sewn or fixed to the shirt. In FIG. 3, subject 300 is shown wearing shirt 301 with a uniform pattern of reflective dots arrayed in uniform grid with a 1 inch dot pitch along a horizontal and a vertical direction. It should be appreciated that the pattern may be a uniform grid, a non-uniform grid, a textured pattern, or a pseudo-random pattern so long as the pattern's spatial characteristics are known apriori. Higher-resolution patterns are preferable for reconstruction of higher resolution depth maps. Depth maps may be obtained from video images captured using an image-based depth sensing device such as an image-based depth sensing device comprising any of: a red green blue depth (RGBD) camera, an infrared depth camera, a passive stereo camera, an array of cameras, an active stereo camera, and a 2D monocular video camera. Depth maps may also be obtained from data acquired by non-image-based depth sensing devices such as a LADAR device, a LiDAR device, a photo wave device, or a time-of-flight measurement device as a depth measuring system. Depth maps can be obtained from data obtained by any of a wide variety of depth-capable sensing devices or 3D reconstruction techniques.

“Receiving depth maps” is intended to be widely construed and includes to download, upload, estimate, measure, obtain, or otherwise retrieve from a memory, hard drive, CDROM, or DVD. The depth maps are measured with a depth-capable sensing device. It should be appreciated that depth maps can be obtained using a camera to capture images of the subject while illuminated by a projected pattern of structured light, the camera being sensitive to a wavelength range of the structured light. The depth maps are then generated based upon a comparison of spatial characteristics of reflections introduced by a movement in the subject's chest cage to known spatial characteristics of the projected patterns in conjunction with the known distance between the light projector and the camera, and using the characterized distortions at different locations to calculate the depth map for each image in the video. Such a method is taught in the above-incorporated reference by Bernal et al. Depth maps can be generated using distortions in patterned clothing worn by the subject as taught in the above-incorporated reference by Bernal et al. The embodiments herein are discussed with respect to the patterned clothing embodiment.

A “reference breathing signal” refers to a volume signal that is associated with a known pattern of breathing. By a comparison of one or more segments of the subject's breathing signal against reference breathing signals which are associated with known breathing patterns, a pattern can be identified for the subject's breathing. The reference breathing signal can be retrieved from, for example, a memory, a storage device such as a hard drive or removable media, or received from a remote device over a wired or wireless network. The reference breathing signal may be volume signals generated using the depth capable sensor in a simulated environment by a respiratory expert. It can also be generated using the depth capable sensor on patients with identified respiratory diseases.

A “subject's breathing signal” refers to a temporal sequence of instantaneous volumes across time intervals during a period of an inspiratory and an expiratory breathing. Instantaneous volumes are obtained from processing the depth maps. In one embodiment, the depth map comprises a 3D hull defined by a set of 3D coordinates namely their horizontal, vertical and depth coordinates (x, y and z respectively). Points in the hull can be used to form a triangular tessellation of the target area. By definition of a tessellation, the triangles fill the whole surface and do not overlap. The coordinates of an anchor point at a given depth are computed. The anchor point can be located on a reference surface, for example, the surface on which the subject lies. The anchor point in conjunction with the depth map defines a 3D hull which has a volume. Alternatively, the coordinates of points on an anchor surface corresponding to the set of depths of a reference surface can be computed. The anchor surface in conjunction with the depth map also defines a 3D hull which has a volume. A volume can be computed for each 3D hull obtained from each depth map. A concatenation of all sequential volumes forms a temporal sequence of instantaneous volumes across time intervals during inspiration and expiration. The signal can be de-trended to remove low frequency variations and smoothed using a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) or a filter. Additionally, the volumetric data can be calibrated so as to convert device-dependent volume data into device-independent data, for example in L, mL, or cm3. A mapping or function that performs such conversion is deemed a calibration function. These functions can be estimated, for example by performing regression or fitting of volumetric data measured via the procedure described above to volumetric data obtained with spirometers. It should be appreciated that, in environments where the patient is free to move around while being monitored for respiratory function, it may be necessary to build perspective-dependent calibration functions specific to the device from which the depth maps are being derived. Data capture from different points of view can be performed and perspective-dependent volume signals derived. Processing from each point of view will lead to perspective-dependent volume signals from which multiple calibration tables can be constructed. Calibration for various perspectives intermediate to those tested can be accomplished via interpolation.

A “segment of a breathing signal” refers to some or all of the subject's breathing signal. A segment can be, for instance, one or more dominant cycles of the subject's breathing signal or a fraction or multiple fractions of one dominant cycle of the subject's breathing signal. The dominant cycle may be selected in many ways; for example by extracting any one breathing cycle from the chosen segment, by averaging all the breathing cycles in a signal, by extracting the cycle with the smallest or largest period, among others. A signal segment may comprise a phase-shifted portion of the subject's breathing signal. Methods for obtaining a segment of a signal are well established in the signal processing arts. A segment of the subject's breathing signal is used herein for comparison purposes such that a breathing pattern for the subject can be identified.

“Identifying a breathing pattern” for the subject comprises visual inspection of the breathing pattern and then comparing that pattern to one or more known reference patterns and selecting a reference pattern that is a closest visual match.

A “breathing pattern” refers to a movement of the target region due to the flow of air over a period of inspiration and expiration. The breathing pattern may be any of: Eupnea, Bradypnea, Tachypnea, Hypopnea, Apnea, Kussmaul, Cheyne-Stokes, Biot's, Ataxic, Apneustic, Agonal, or Thoracoabdominal, as are generally understood by medical doctors, nurses, pulmonologists, respiratory therapists, among others. The identified breathing pattern for the subject can then be used by trained practitioners to determine any of: pulmonary fibrosis, pneumothorax, Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome, asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema.

A “remote sensing environment” refers to non-contact, non-invasive sensing, i.e., the sensing device does not physically contact the subject being sensed. The sensing device can be any distance away from the subject, for example, as close as less than an inch to as far as miles in the case of telemedicine which is enabled by remote communication. The environment may be any settings such as, for example, a hospital, ambulance, medical office, and the like.

Example Image-Based System

Reference is now being made to FIG. 4 which illustrates one embodiment of an example image-based depth sensing device acquiring video images of the target region of the subject of FIG. 3 being monitored for respiratory function assessment. In this embodiment, the image-based depth sensing device used to obtain video images of the subject's target region from which the time-varying sequence of depth maps is obtained can be, for example, a red green blue depth (RGBD) camera, an infrared depth camera, a passive stereo camera, an active stereo camera, an array of cameras, or a 2D monocular video camera. In another embodiment where a non-image-based depth sensing device is used to acquire depth measurement data from which the time-varying sequence of depth maps is obtained can be, for example, a LADAR device, a LiDAR device, a photo wave device, or a time-of-flight measurement device.

Examination room 400 has an example image-based depth sensing device 402 to obtain video images of a subject 301 shown resting his/her head on a pillow while his/her body is partially covered by sheet. Subject 301 is being monitored for respiratory function assessment. Patient 301 is wearing a shirt 301 shown with a patterned array of reflective marks, individually at 403. It is to be noted that clothing with patterned array of reflective marks is not needed when patterns are projected by the illumination source system. Video camera 402 is rotatably fixed to support arm 404 such that the camera's field of view 405 can be directed by a technician onto target region 406. Support arm 404 is mounted on a set of wheels (not shown) so that video acquisition system 402 can be moved from bed to bed and room to room. Although patient 300 is shown in a prone position lying in a bed, it should be appreciated that video of the target region 406 can be captured while the subject is positioned in other supporting devices such as, for example, a chair or in a standing position. Video camera 402 comprises imaging sensors arrayed on a detector grid. The sensors of the video camera are at least sensitive to a wavelength of illumination source system 407 being reflected by the reflective marks 403. The illumination source system may be any light wavelength that is detectable by sensors on the camera's detector array. The illumination sources may be manipulated as needed and may be invisible to the human visual system. The illumination source system may be arranged such that it may project invisible/visible patterns of light on the subject.

A central processor integral to the video camera 402 and in communication with a memory (not shown) functions to execute machine readable program instructions which process the video to obtain the time-varying sequence of depth maps. The obtained sequence of depth maps may be wirelessly communicated via transmission element 408 over network 401 to a remote device operated by, for instance, a nurse, doctor, or technician for further processing, as needed, and for respiratory function assessment of patient 300. Alternatively, the captured video images are wirelessly communicated over network 401 via antenna 408 to a remote device such as a workstation where the transmitted video signal is processed to obtain the time-varying sequence of depth maps. The depth maps are, in turn, processed to obtain the time-varying breathing signal. Camera system 402 may further include wireless and wired elements and may be connected to a variety of devices via other means such as coaxial cable, radio frequency, Bluetooth, or any other manner for communicating video signals, data, and results. Network 401 is shown as an amorphous cloud wherein data is transferred in the form of signals which may be, for example, electronic, electromagnetic, optical, light, or other signals. These signals may be communicated to a server which transmits and receives data by means of a wire, cable, fiber optic, phone line, cellular link, RF, satellite, or other medium or communications pathway or protocol. Techniques for placing devices in networked communication are well established. As such, further discussion as to specific networking techniques is omitted herein.

Flow Diagram of One Embodiment

Reference is now being made to the flow diagram of FIG. 5 which illustrates one embodiment of the present method for identifying a breathing pattern of a subject for respiratory function assessment in a remote sensing environment. Flow begins at 500 and immediately proceeds to step 502.

At step 502, receive a time-varying sequence of depth maps of a target region of a subject of interest being monitored for breathing pattern identification. The depth maps are of the target region over a period of inspiration and expiration. The target region may be, for example, the subject's anterior thoracic region, a region of the subject's dorsal body, and a side view containing the subject's thoracic region. The depth sensing device may be an image-based depth sensing device or a non-image-based depth sensing device. Various example target regions are shown in FIG. 1.

At step 504, process the depth maps to obtain a breathing signal for the subject comprising a temporal sequence of volumes at instantaneous intervals across time intervals during inspiratory and expiratory breathing. The inspiration may be a maximal forced inspiration and the expiration a maximal forced expiration, or the inspiration and expiration are tidal breathing.

At step 506, retrieve a first reference breathing signal. The reference breathing signals can be retrieved from, for example, a database of reference signals or from a storage device. The reference breathing signal can be received or otherwise obtained from a remote device over a wired or wireless network. Associated with each of the reference breathing signals is a breathing pattern.

At step 508, compare at least one segment of the subject's breathing signal against the retrieved reference breathing signal.

At step 510, a determination is made whether, as a result of the comparison in step 508, the reference signal is a match. If so then processing proceeds with respect to node A of FIG. 6 which is a continuation of the flow diagram of FIG. 5. If, as a result of the comparison performed in step 510 it is determined that the reference breathing signal matches the signal segment(s) of the subject's breathing signal then flow continues with respect to step 512 wherein the breathing pattern associated with the matching reference signal is determined to be the breathing pattern of the subject.

At step 514, the identified breathing is used for respiratory function assessment of the subject. In this embodiment, further flow stops. In another embodiment, the identified breathing pattern is processed by an artificial intelligence algorithm to determine whether an alert condition exists. If so, then an alert signal is automatically sent using, for example, transmissive element 408 of FIG. 4. The alert signal may comprise, for example, a light blinking, an alarm or a message flashing on a monitor display. Such a notification can take the form of a text message sent to a cellphone of a medical practitioner such as a nurse, pulmonologist, doctor or respiratory therapist. The notification alert may be a pre-recorded voice, text, direct phone call, or video message. Such an alert or notification can take any of a variety of forms and would depend on the particular environment wherein the teachings hereof find their intended uses.

If, as a result of the comparison performed in step 510, it is determined that the reference breathing signal does not match the signal segment(s) of the subject breathing signal then flow continues with respect to node B wherein, at step 516, a determination is made whether more reference breathing signals remain to be obtained for comparison purposes. If so then flow repeats with respect to node C of FIG. 5 wherein, at step 506, a next reference breathing signal is retrieved or is otherwise received or obtained and this next reference breathing signal is then compared to one or more segments of the subject's breathing signal. Otherwise, in this embodiment, further flow stops.

It should be understood that the flow diagrams depicted herein are illustrative. One or more of the operations illustrated in the flow diagrams may be performed in a differing order. Other operations may be added, modified, enhanced, or consolidated. Variations thereof are intended to fall within the scope of the appended claims. All or portions of the flow diagrams may be implemented partially or fully in hardware in conjunction with machine executable instructions.

Example Networked System

Reference is now being made to FIG. 7 which shows a functional block diagram of an example networked system for implementing various aspects of the present method described with respect to the flow diagrams of FIGS. 5 and 6. The system 700 of FIG. 7 illustrates a plurality of modules, processors, and components placed in networked communication with a workstation 702 wherein depth measurement data in the form of a video signal or depth values is transmitted over network 401 via transmissive element 408 by depth sensing device 402 are received for processing.

Workstation 702 includes a hard drive (internal to computer housing 703) which reads/writes to a computer readable media 704 such as a floppy disk, optical disk, CDROM, DVD, magnetic tape, etc. Case 703 houses a motherboard with a processor and memory, a communications link such as a network card, graphics card, and the like, and other software and hardware to perform the functionality of a computing device as is generally known in the arts. The workstation includes a graphical user interface which, in various embodiments, comprises display 705 such as a CRT, LCD, touch screen, etc., a mouse 706 and keyboard 707. Information may be entered by a user of the present system using the graphical user interface. It should be appreciated that workstation 702 has an operating system and other specialized software configured to display a wide variety of numeric values, text, scroll bars, pull-down menus with user selectable options, and the like, for entering, selecting, or modifying information displayed on display 705. The embodiment shown is only illustrative. Although shown as a desktop computer, it should be appreciated that computer 702 can be any of a laptop, mainframe, client/server, or a special purpose computer such as an ASIC, circuit board, dedicated processor, or the like. Any of the Information obtained from any of the modules of system 700 including various characteristics of any of the depth sensors can be saved to storage device 708.

In the system 500, Depth Data Processor 710 processes the acquired data to obtain a time-varying sequence of depths maps of the target region over a period of inspiration and expiration. Depth Map Analyzer 712 receives the time-varying sequence of depth maps from Processor 710 and proceeds to process the received depth maps to produce a time-varying breathing signal for the subject being monitored for respiratory function assessment. Breathing Signal Processor 714 receives the time-varying breathing signal and identifies one or more signal segments in the subject's breathing signal that will be used for comparison purposes and may further store the data to Memory 715. Signal Segment Display Module 716 receives the segment(s) of the subject's breathing signal and retrieves one or more records, collectively at 717, containing reference breathing signals and associated breathing patterns which are shown by way of example in a first of n-records which may also contain associated medical conditions and recommendations. The retrieved reference breathing signal segment(s) are displayed for the practitioner so that a matching reference breathing signal can be selected. The breathing pattern associated with the selected reference breathing signal is determined to be a match for the subject's breathing pattern. In this embodiment, Notification Module 718 implements an artificial intelligence program to determine whether an alert signal needs to be sent to a nurse, doctor or respiratory therapist via antenna element 720. Such an alert or notification can take any of a variety of forms. Notification Module 718 may further communicate any of the values, data, diagrams, results generated by any of the modules of system 700 to a remote device.

It should be understood that any of the modules and processing units of FIG. 7 are in communication with workstation 702 via pathways (not shown) and may further be in communication with one or more remote devices over network 401. Further, the workstation and any remote devices may further read/write to any of the records 716 which may be stored in a database, memory, or storage device (not shown). Any of the modules may communicate with storage devices 708 and memory 715 via pathways shown and not shown and may store/retrieve data, parameter values, functions, records, and machine readable/executable program instructions required to perform their intended functions. Some or all of the functionality for any of the modules of the functional block diagram of FIG. 7 may be performed, in whole or in part, by components internal to workstation 702 or by a special purpose computer system.

Various modules may designate one or more components which may, in turn, comprise software and/or hardware designed to perform the intended function. A plurality of modules may collectively perform a single function. Each module may have a specialized processor and memory capable of executing machine readable program instructions. A module may comprise a single piece of hardware such as an ASIC, electronic circuit, or special purpose processor. A plurality of modules may be executed by either a single special purpose computer system or a plurality of special purpose systems operating in parallel. Connections between modules include both physical and logical connections. Modules may further include one or more software/hardware components which may further comprise an operating system, drivers, device controllers, and other apparatuses some or all of which may be connected via a network. It is also contemplated that one or more aspects of the present method may be implemented on a dedicated computer system and may also be practiced in distributed computing environments where tasks are performed by remote devices that are linked through a network.

Example Breathing Patterns

FIG. 8 shows an example breathing pattern associated with normal breathing (Eupnea) as observed normally under resting conditions.

FIG. 9 shows an example Bradypnea breathing pattern which is characterized by an unusually slow rate of breathing. Bradypnea is typically characterized by a period of respiration less than 12 breaths per minute (bpm) for patients in the range of between 12 and 50 years of age. Rates of breathing differ for older adults as well as younger patients. If an individual has this type of breathing, it can mean that the individual is not receiving a proper amount of oxygen.

FIG. 10 shows an example Tachypnea breathing pattern characterized by an unusually fast respiratory rate typically greater than 20 breaths per minute (bpm). Tachypnea can be associated with high fever when the body attempts to rid itself of excess heat. The rate of respiration increases at a ratio of about eight breaths per minute for every degree Celsius above normal. Other causes include pneumonia, compensatory respiratory alkalosis as the body tries to expel excess carbon dioxide, respiratory insufficiency, lesions in the respiratory control center of the brain, and poisoning. Tachypnea of a newborn is an elevation of the respiratory rate which can be due to fetal lung water.

FIG. 11 shows an example Hypopnea breathing pattern characterized by an abnormally shallow and slow respiration rate. Hypopnea typically occurs with advanced age. In well-conditioned athletes, it may be appropriate and is often accompanied by a slow pulse. Otherwise, it is apparent when pleuritic pain limits excursion and is characteristic of damage to the brainstem. Hypopnea accompanied by a rapid, weak pulse, may mean a brain injury.

FIG. 12 shows an example Hyperpnea breathing pattern characterized by an exaggerated deep, rapid, or labored respiration. It occurs normally with exercise and abnormally with aspirin overdose, pain, fever, hysteria, or a condition in which the supply of oxygen is inadequate. Hyperpnea may indicate cardiac disease and respiratory disease. Also spelled hyperpnoea.

FIG. 13 shows an example Thoracoabdominal breathing that involves trunk musculature to “suck” air into the lungs for pulmonary ventilation. This is typical in reptiles and birds. In humans, it can indicate a neuromuscular disorder such as a cervical spinal injury or a diaphragmatic paralysis.

FIG. 14 shows an example Kussmaul breathing pattern characterized by rapid, deep breathing due to a stimulation of the respiratory center of the brain triggered by a drop in pH. Kussmaul breathing is normal during exercise but is often seen in patients with metabolic acidosis.

Apnea (now shown) is a cessation of breathing for an extended period such as 20 seconds or more, typically during sleep. Apnea is divided into three categories: (1) obstructive, resulting from obstruction of the upper airways; (2) central, caused by some pathology in the brain's respiratory control center; and (3) mixed, a combination of the two.

FIG. 15 shows an example Cheyne-Stokes respiration which is characterized by a crescendo-decrescendo pattern of breathing followed by a period of central apnea. This is often seen in conditions like stroke, brain tumor, traumatic brain injury, carbon monoxide poisoning, metabolic encephalopathy, altitude sickness, narcotics use and in non-rapid eye movement sleep of patients with congestive heart failure.

FIG. 16 shows an example Biot's respiration which is characterized by abrupt and irregularly alternating periods of apnea with periods of breathing that are consistent in rate and depth. Biot's respiration is indicative of an increased intracranial pressure.

FIG. 17 shows an example Ataxic breathing pattern which is a completely irregular breathing pattern with continually variable rate and depth of breathing. Ataxis is indicative of lesions in the respiratory centers in the brainstem.

FIG. 18 shows an example Apneustic breathing pattern which is characterized by a prolonged inspiratory phase followed by expiration apnea. The rate of Apneustic breathing is usually around 1.5 breaths per minute (bpm). An Apneustic breathing pattern is often associated with head injury.

FIG. 19 shows example Agonal breathing which is abnormally shallow breathing pattern often related to cardiac arrest.

Performance Results

A person with training in respiratory diseases emulated various breathing patterns for our tests using an active-stereo-based system to acquire a time-series signal used to generate depth maps. Depth data was captured at 30 fps. The signals were processed in accordance with the teachings hereof and the resulting breathing patterns plotted for comparison purposes. FIG. 20 shows a normal respiration pattern captured using a depth sensing device with the depth maps being processed in accordance with the teachings hereof which matches well with the normal breathing pattern of FIG. 8. FIG. 21 shows an example Cheyne-Stokes breathing pattern generated using the techniques disclosed herein. Compared this to the Cheyne-Stokes pattern of FIG. 15. FIGS. 22, 23 and 24 shows, respectively, a Biot's pattern, an Apneustic pattern, and an Agonal pattern generated using the present methods. Compare these to the Biot's pattern of FIG. 16, the Apneustic pattern of FIG. 18 and the Agonal pattern of FIG. 19. As can be seen by an examination of the results, an experienced pulmonologist would be able to classify the breathing patterns generated using the teachings disclosed herein, and therefrom identify associated medical reasons for respiratory function assessment.

Various Embodiments

The teachings hereof can be implemented in hardware or software using any known or later developed systems, structures, devices, and/or software by those skilled in the applicable art without undue experimentation from the functional description provided herein with a general knowledge of the relevant arts. One or more aspects of the methods described herein are intended to be incorporated in an article of manufacture, including one or more computer program products, having computer usable or machine readable media. The article of manufacture may be included on at least one storage device readable by a machine architecture embodying executable program instructions capable of performing the methodology and functionality described herein. Additionally, the article of manufacture may be included as part of a complete system or provided separately, either alone or as various components. It will be appreciated that various features and functions, or alternatives thereof, may be desirably combined into other different systems or applications. Presently unforeseen or unanticipated alternatives, modifications, variations, or improvements therein may become apparent and/or subsequently made by those skilled in the art, which are also intended to be encompassed with the scope of the following claims.

Accordingly, the embodiments set forth above are considered to be illustrative and not limiting. Various changes to the above-described embodiments may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The teachings of any printed publications including patents and patent applications, are each separately hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.