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Comparison of speckleplethysmographic (SPG) and photoplethysmographic (PPG) imaging by Monte Carlo simulations and in vivo measurements.


Noncontact photoplethysmography (PPG) is limited by a poor signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). A solution to this limitation is the use of alternate sources of optical contrast to generate a complementary pulsatile waveform. One such source is laser speckle contrast, which is modulated in biological tissues by the flow rate of red blood cells. Averaging a region of interest from a speckle contrast image over time allows for the calculation of a speckleplethysmogram (SPG). Similar to PPG, SPG enables monitoring of heart rate and respiratory rate. A gap in the knowledge base exists as to the precise spatiotemporal relationship between PPG and SPG signals. We have developed an eight-layer tissue model to simulate both PPG and SPG signals in a reflectance geometry via Monte Carlo methods. We modeled PPG by compression of the upper and lower blood nets due to expansion of the larger arterial layer below. The in silico PPG peak-to-peak amplitude percent was greater at 532 nm than at 860 nm (5.6% vs. 3.0%, respectively), which matches trends from the literature. We modeled SPG by changing flow speeds of red blood cells in both the capillaries and arterioles over the cardiac cycle. The in silico SPG peak-to-peak amplitude percent was 24% at 532 nm and 40% at 860 nm. In silico results are similar to in vivo results measured with a two-camera set up for simultaneous imaging of PPG and SPG. Both in silico and in vivo data suggest SPG has a much larger SNR than PPG, which may prove beneficial for noncontact, wide-field optical monitoring of cardiovascular health.

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