Stephen Askew, Master’s candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
Methemoglobinemia and sulfhemoglobinemia are potentially life-threatening blood disorders characterized by similar symptoms and markedly distinct treatment procedures. In this thesis, we investigate the causal relationship between these disorders and the onset of cyanosis (purple or bluish skin coloration). More specifically, we perform controlled experiments to elicit cyanotic appearances resulting from different severity levels of these disorders and varying physiological conditions. We note that such experiments cannot be induced in living subjects without posing risks to their health. Accordingly, we have resorted to an in silico experimental approach supported by biophysical data reported in the biomedical literature.
Besides bringing new insights about cyanotic chromatic variations elicited by methemoglobinemia and sulfhemoglobinemia, our investigation provides the basis for the proposition of a cost-effective protocol for the noninvasive detection and differentiation of these disorders. Our experimental results indicate that its applicability range exceeds the range of similar technologies, which are in general associated with high operational costs. We believe that these aspects make the proposed protocol particularly suitable for incorporation into noninvasive disease screening/diagnostic systems, particularly those deployed at the point of care of medical settings with limited access to laboratory resources.