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OBJECTIVES: Clinical assessment of skin perfusion informs prognosis in critically ill patients. Video camera monitoring could provide an objective, continuous method to monitor skin perfusion. In this prospective, interventional study of healthy volunteers, we tested whether video camera-derived photoplethysmography imaging and colour measurements could detect drug-induced skin perfusion changes. APPROACH: We monitored the lower limbs of thirty volunteers using video cameras while administering phenylephrine (a vasoconstrictor) and glyceryl trinitrate (a vasodilator). We report relative pixel intensity changes from baseline, as absolute values are sensitive to environmental factors. The primary outcome was the pre- to peak- infusion green channel amplitude change in the pulsatile PPGi waveform component. Secondary outcomes were pre-to-peak changes in the photoplethysmographic imaging waveform baseline, skin colour hue and skin colour saturation. MAIN RESULTS: The 30 participants had a median age of 29 years (IQR 25-34), sixteen (53%) were male. A 34.7% (p=0.0001) mean decrease in the amplitude of the pulsatile photoplethysmographic imaging waveform occurred following phenylephrine infusion. A 30.7% (p=0.000004) mean increase occurred following glyceryl trinitrate infusion. The photoplethysmographic imaging baseline decreased with phenylephrine by 2.1% (p=0.00002) and increased with glyceryl trinitrate by 0.5% (p=0.026). Skin colour hue changed in opposite direction with phenylephrine (-0.0013, p=0.0002) and glyceryl trinitrate (+0.0006, p=0.019). Skin colour saturation decreased with phenylephrine by 0.0022 (p=0.0002), with no significant change observed with glyceryl trinitrate (+0.0005, p=0.21). SIGNIFICANCE: Drug-induced vasoconstriction and vasodilation are associated with detectable changes in photoplethysmographic imaging waveform parameters and skin hue. Our findings suggest video cameras have great potential for continuous, contactless skin perfusion monitoring.

Original publication




Journal article


Physiol Meas

Publication Date



camera, monitoring, non-contact, perfusion