Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Forehead monitoring of heart rate in neonatal intensive care

Stockwell, S. J.; Kwok, T. C.; Morgan, S. P.; Sharkey, D.; Hayes-Gill, B. R.

Forehead monitoring of heart rate in neonatal intensive care Thumbnail


S. J. Stockwell

Clinical Research Fellow in Neonatal Medicine

Profile Image

Professor of Neonatal Medicine and Technologies

Professor of Electronic Systems and Medical Devices


Heart rate is an extremely important physiological parameter to measure in critically unwell infants, as it is the main physiological marker that changes in response to a change in infant condition. Heart rate is routinely measured peripherally on a limb with a pulse oximeter. However, when infants are critically unwell, the blood supply to these peripheries is reduced in preference for central perfusion of vital organs such as the brain and heart. Measurement of heart rate with a reflection mode photoplethysmogram (PPG) sensor on the forehead could help minimise this problem and make it easier for other important medical equipment, such as cannulas, to be placed on the limbs. This study compares heart rates measured with a forehead-based PPG sensor against a wrist-based PPG sensor in 19 critically unwell infants in neonatal intensive care collecting 198 h of data. The two heart rates were compared using positive percentage agreement, Spearman’s correlation coefficient and Bland-Altman analysis. The forehead PPG sensor showed good agreement with the wrist-based PPG sensor with limits of agreement of 8.44 bpm, bias of −0.22 bpm; positive percentage agreement of 98.87%; and Spearman’s correlation coefficient of 0.9816. The analysis demonstrates that the forehead is a reliable alternative location for measuring vital signs using the PPG.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 21, 2023
Online Publication Date Apr 4, 2023
Publication Date Apr 4, 2023
Deposit Date Apr 28, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 5, 2023
Journal Frontiers in Physiology
Electronic ISSN 1664-042X
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Article Number 1127419
Keywords Physiology, photoplethysmogram, PPG, neonatal, heart rate, forehead, reflectance-mode, pulse oximeter Min.5-Max. 8, NICU (neonatal intensive care unit)
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations