Body Motion Detection in Neonates Based on Motion Artifacts in Physiological Signals from a Clinical Patient Monitor

Motion patterns in newborns contain important information. Motion patterns change upon maturation and changes in the nature of motion may precede critical clinical events such as the onset of sepsis, seizures and apneas. However, in clinical practice, motion monitoring is still limited to observations by caregivers. In this study, we investigated a practical yet reliable method for motion detection using routinely used physiological signals in the patient monitor. Our method calculated motion measures with a continuous wavelet transform (CWT) and a signal instability index (SII) to detect gross-motor motion in 15 newborns using 40 hours of physiological data with annotated videos. We compared the performance of these measures on three signal modalities (electrocardiogram ECG, chest impedance, and photo plethysmography). In addition, we investigated whether their combinations increased performance. The best performance was achieved with the ECG signal with a median (IQR) area under receiver operating curve (AUC) of 0.92 (0.08), but differences were small as both measures had a robust performance on all signal modalities. We then applied the algorithm on combined measures and modalities. The full combination outperformed all single-modal methods with a median (IQR) AUC of 0.95 (0.05) when discriminating gross-motor motion from still. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of gross-motor motion detection method based on only clinically-available vital signs and that best results can be obtained by combining measures and vital signs.