Rashidi awarded NIBIB Trailblazer R21 Award

Dr. Parisa Rashidi, assistant professor, was recently awarded a National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) Trailblazer R21 Award for assessing pain management in ICU patients.

The under-assessment of pain response is one of the primary barriers to the adequate treatment of pain in critically ill patients and is associated with many negative outcomes such as chronic pain after discharge, prolonged mechanical ventilation, longer ICU stay and increased mortality risk.

Currently, existing nonverbal pain assessment scales are based on manual assessment by trained nurses of a patients’ facial expressions and the patients’ activity such as guarding or restlessness. Furthermore, manual pain assessment tools cannot monitor pain continuously and autonomously.

Rashidi and her team will equip two 24-bed ICU units with wearable inertial sensors and color-depth cameras. They will recruit 200 patients, and will capture highly-granular data on facial expressions and body movements for up to seven days.

Rashidi’s central hypothesis is that she can autonomously assess facial pain expressions and patient activity. Additionally, activity recognition will provide means for automated pain contextualization with respect to patient function. Rashidi’s rationale is that autonomous pain quantification can reduce nurse workload and can enable real-time pain monitoring.