A1 Journal article – refereed

Pain Recognition With Electrocardiographic Features in Postoperative Patients: Method Validation Study

List of Authors: Naeini Emad Kasaeyan, Subramanian Ajan, Calderon Michael-David, Zheng Kai, Dutt Nikil, Liljeberg Pasi, Salanterä Sanna, Nelson Ariana M, Rahmani Amir M


Publication year: 2021

Journal: Journal of Medical Internet Research


Journal acronym: J MED INTERNET RES

Volume number: 23

Issue number: 5

Number of pages: 13

ISSN: 1438-8871

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/25079

Background: There is a strong demand for an accurate and objective means of assessing acute pain among hospitalized patients to help clinicians provide pain medications at a proper dosage and in a timely manner. Heart rate variability (HRV) comprises changes in the time intervals between consecutive heartbeats, which can be measured through acquisition and interpretation of electrocardiography (ECG) captured from bedside monitors or wearable devices. As increased sympathetic activity affects the HRV, an index of autonomic regulation of heart rate, ultra-short-term HRV analysis can provide a reliable source of information for acute pain monitoring. In this study, widely used HRV time and frequency domain measurements are used in acute pain assessments among postoperative patients. The existing approaches have only focused on stimulated pain in healthy subjects, whereas, to the best of our knowledge, there is no work in the literature building models using real pain data and on postoperative patients.
Objective: The objective of our study was to develop and evaluate an automatic and adaptable pain assessment algorithm based on ECG features for assessing acute pain in postoperative patients likely experiencing mild to moderate pain.
Methods: The study used a prospective observational design. The sample consisted of 25 patient participants aged 18 to 65 years. In part 1 of the study, a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit was employed to obtain baseline discomfort thresholds for the patients. In part 2, a multichannel biosignal acquisition device was used as patients were engaging in non-noxious activities. At all times, pain intensity was measured using patient self-reports based on the Numerical Rating Scale. A weak supervision framework was inherited for rapid training data creation. The collected labels were then transformed from 11 intensity levels to 5 intensity levels. Prediction models were developed using 5 different machine learning methods. Mean prediction accuracy was calculated using leave-one-out cross-validation. We compared the performance of these models with the results from a previously published research study.
Results: Five different machine learning algorithms were applied to perform a binary classification of baseline (BL) versus 4 distinct pain levels (PL1 through PL4). The highest validation accuracy using 3 time domain HRV features from a BioVid research paper for baseline versus any other pain level was achieved by support vector machine (SVM) with 62.72% (BL vs PL4) to 84.14% (BL vs PL2). Similar results were achieved for the top 8 features based on the Gini index using the SVM method, with an accuracy ranging from 63.86% (BL vs PL4) to 84.79% (BL vs PL2).
Conclusions: We propose a novel pain assessment method for postoperative patients using ECG signal. Weak supervision applied for labeling and feature extraction improves the robustness of the approach. Our results show the viability of using a machine learning algorithm to accurately and objectively assess acute pain among hospitalized patients.

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Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 08:42