Opto-electronic Plethysmography (OEP)

A State-of-the-Art Pulmonary Evaluation Tool

OEP works similarly to the optical "skins" that enable movie animators to recreate an actor's body and movements. Utilizing six specialized video cameras to track 90 optical markers applied to the patient's chest, the OEP measures breathing by recording the motion of the chest wall. Advanced algorithms enable the system to provide highly accurate information about how much air the patient takes in, which portions of the lungs receive that air, and the mechanics of breathing.

Because it takes a picture rather than requiring a patient to exhale into a face mask or a mouthpiece, the OEP system is ideal for use with patients who cannot or will not participate, such as patients in intensive care, sedated patients, or children. This may be a diagnostic option for people who can't undergo pulmonary testing and it allows us to test during exercise in ways not possible before.

Taking Patient Evaluation, Surgical Planning, and Outcomes Research to the Next Level

The system, which has been in use in Europe, was one of the first three in the United States. Thoracic surgery involves the mechanics of breathing, and OEP allows us to look at the thoracic cavity in a way never before possible.

The OEP system enables the following:

  • Map which parts of the chest function better than others
  • Analysis of hyperinflation in emphysema patients
  • Analysis of coordination of the thoracic cavity
  • Evaluation of respiratory muscle function in response to non-invasive ventilation in ALS patients
  • Analysis of how a patient's breathing is improving through treatment
  • Study treatment outcomes such as comparing single vs. double lung transplantation
  • Surgical planning for procedures such as lung volume reduction, lung transplantation, and scoliosis surgery