General Studies


IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 1998 Dec;17(6):1019-27.

A reappraisal of the use of infrared thermal image analysis in medicine.

Jones BF1.

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Infrared thermal imaging of the skin has been used for several decades to monitor the temperature distribution of human skin. Abnormalities such as malignancies, inflammation, and infection cause localized increases in temperature which show as hot spots or as asymmetrical patterns in an infrared thermogram. Even though it is nonspecific, infrared thermology is a powerful detector of problems that affect a patient’s physiology. While the use of infrared imaging is increasing in many industrial and security applications, it has declined in medicine probably because of the continued reliance on first generation cameras. The transfer of military technology for medical use has prompted this reappraisal of infrared thermology in medicine. Digital infrared cameras have much improved spatial and thermal resolutions, and libraries of image processing routines are available to analyze images captured both statically and dynamically. If thermographs are captured under controlled conditions, they may be interpreted readily to diagnose certain conditions and to monitor the reaction of a patient’s physiology to thermal and other stresses. Some of the major areas where infrared thermography is being used successfully are neurology, vascular disorders, rheumatic diseases, tissue viability, oncology (especially breast cancer), dermatological disorders, neonatal, ophthalmology, and surgery.

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2011 Dec;111(6):1813-8. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00726.2011. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

Digital infrared thermographic imaging for remote assessment of traumatic injury.

Cooke WH1Moralez GBarrera CRCox P.

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The purpose of this study was to test the hypotheses that digital infrared thermographic imaging (DITI) during simulated uncontrolled hemorrhage will reveal 1) respiratory rate and 2) changes of skin temperature that track reductions of stroke volume. In 45 healthy volunteers (25 men and 20 women), we recorded the ECG, finger photoplethysmographic arterial pressure, respiratory rate (pneumobelt and DITI of the nose), cardiac output (inert rebreathing), and skin temperature of the forehead during lower body negative pressure (LBNP) at three continuous decompression rates; slow (-3 mmHg/min), medium (-6 mmHg/min), and fast (-12 mmHg/min) to an ending pressure of -60 mmHg. Respiratory rates calculated from the pneumobelt (14.7 ± 0.9 breaths/min) and DITI (14.9 ± 1.2 breaths/min) were not different (P = 0.21). LBNP induced an average stroke volume reduction of 1.3 ml/mmHg regardless of decompression speed. Maximal reductions of stroke volume and forehead temperature were -100 ± 12 ml and -0.32 ± 0.12°C (slow), -86 ± 12 ml and -0.74 ± 0.27°C (medium), and -78 ± 5 ml and -0.17 ± 0.02°C (fast). Changes of forehead temperature as a function of changes of stroke volume were best described by a quadratic fit to the data (slow R(2) = 0.95; medium R(2) = 0.89; and fast R(2) = 0.99).Our results suggest that a thermographic camera may prove useful for the remote assessment of traumatically injured patients. Life sign detection may be determined by verifying respiratory rate. Determining the magnitude and rate of hemorrhage may also be possible based on future algorithms derived from associations between skin temperature and stroke volume.

Physiol Meas. 2003 Aug;24(3):717-25.

Comparison of digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI) with contact thermometry: pilot data from a sleep research laboratory.

van den Heuvel CJ1Ferguson SADawson DGilbert SS.

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Body temperature regulation is associated with changes in sleep propensity; therefore, sleep research often necessitates concomitant assessment of core and skin surface temperatures. Attachment to thermistors may limit the range of movement and comfort, introducing a potential confound that may prolong sleep initiation or increase wakefulness after sleep onset. It has been suggested that contact thermometry may artificially increase temperatures due to insulation. We report here on a method of remote sensing skin temperatures using a digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI) system, which can reduce these potential confounds. Using data from four healthy young adult volunteers (age = 26.8 +/- 2.2 years; mean +/- SEM), we compared measures of skin temperature using a DITI system with contact thermometry methods already in use in our sleep laboratory. A total of 416 skin temperature measurements (T(sk)) were collected from various sites, resulting in an overall correlation coefficient of R = 0.99 (p < 0.0001) between both methods. Regression analyses for individuals resulted in correlation coefficients between 0.80 and 0.97. These pilot results suggest that DITI can assess skin surface temperatures as accurately as contact thermometry, provided the interest is in relative and not absolute temperature changes. This and some other important limitations are discussed in more detail hereafter.

Ostomy Wound Manage. 2016 Mar;62(3):54-61.

Using Noncontact Infrared Thermography for Long-term Monitoring of Foot Temperatures in a Patient with Diabetes Mellitus.

Staffa EBernard VKubíček LVlachovský RVlk DMornstein VStaffa R.


Foot complications in persons with diabetes mellitus (DM) are associated with substantial costs and loss of quality of life. Increasing evidence suggests changes in skin temperature, measured using an infrared thermographic system (IRT), may be a predictor of foot ulcer development in patients with DM. The purpose of this case study is to describe the long-term IRT findings and overall clinical outcomes of a patient with DM and peripheral vascular disease. Foot temperature measurements using IRT were obtained slightly more than 1 year before and immediately following endovascular treatment of a 76-year-old man, a nonsmoker with type 2 DM, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease with cardiac arrhythmia. Although he was otherwise asymptomatic, the infrared measurement showed an average temperature difference of 2.3˚ C between the left and right foot until he developed a small, trauma-induced wound on the left foot, at which time left foot temperature increased. He was diagnosed with rectosigmoid adenocarcinoma, underwent surgery and chemotherapy, and subsequently was evaluated for peripheral vascular disease. Before undergoing peripheral angiography and percutaneous transluminal angioplasty, IRT evaluation showed a hot spot on the left heel. Immediately following endovascular treatment, the mean temperature difference between the right and left foot was low (0.2˚ C), but a Stage I pressure ulcer was visible on the left heel. Skin breakdown in that area was observed 2 months later, and the wound continued to increase in size and depth. The patient died shortly thereafter due to complications of cancer. In this case study, a series of infrared images of foot skin temperatures appeared to show a relationship with blood circulation and wound/ulcer development and presentation. IRT has the ability to instantaneously measure the absolute temperature of the skin surface over a large area without direct skin contact. However, the devices are very sensitive and prospective clinical studies to determine the validity, reliability, sensitivity, and specificity of these measurements for routine use in patients who are at risk for vascular disease and/or foot ulcers are needed.

J Wound Care. 2016 Apr;25(4):177-82. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2016.25.4.177.

J Wound Care. 2016 Apr;25(4):177-82. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2016.25.4.177.

Use of smartphone attached mobile thermography assessing subclinical inflammation: a pilot study.

Kanazawa T1Nakagami G1Goto T1Noguchi H2Oe M3Miyagaki T4Hayashi A5Sasaki S6Sanada H1.

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To verify the reliability and validity of FLIR ONE, a device connected to a smartphone, for the assessment of inflammation based on relative temperature increase compared with the thermography routinely used in pressure ulcer (PU) and diabetic foot assessment.


Participants in this pilot cross-sectional observational study were recruited from the patients in the PU team rounds and the diabetic foot outpatient clinic at the university hospital in January 2015. Cohen’s kappa coefficient with its 95% confidence intervals was used to evaluate the criterion-related validity and inter- and intra-rater reliability for the thermal imaging assessment. For assessing criterion-related validity, a hand-held high-end infrared thermography device was used to provide reference data. Comparison of thermal images between the smartphone-connected device and the hand-held device was performed with both a ‘predetermined range’ and an ‘automatically-set range.’ For assessing inter-rater reliability, two assessors evaluated the thermal images taken by the mobilethermography. For assessing intra-rater reliability, one assessor evaluated the thermal images twice. The thermal images were shown to the assessors at random.


Among 16 thermal images obtained from eight patients, kappa coefficients for each value were as follows: for the predetermined range and automatically-set range, respectively, the criterion-related validity was 1.00 (95% confidence interval 1.00-1.00) and 1.00 (95% confidence interval 1.00-1.00); the inter-rater reliability was 1.00 (95% confidence interval 1.00-1.00) and 1.00 (95% confidence interval 1.00-1.00); and the intra-rater reliability was 1.00 (95% confidence interval 1.00-1.00) and 1.00 (95% confidence interval 1.00-1.00).


This pilot study suggests that FLIR ONE can work as an alternative device for assessing subclinical inflammation in PUs and the diabetic foot in clinical settings. Our results may facilitate clinicians in accepting the routine use of thermal imaging assessment at the patients’ bedside.


chronic wound; diabetes mellitus; thermal imaging; wound assessment

Vascular. 2016 Mar 17. pii: 1708538116640444. [Epub ahead of print]

Infrared thermography as option for evaluating the treatment effect of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty by patients with peripheral arterial disease.

Staffa E1Bernard V2Kubicek L3Vlachovsky R3Vlk D2Mornstein V2Bourek A2Staffa R3.

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Aim of this study was to evaluate the possible use of infrared thermography as a supplementary method to the ankle-brachial index used in assessing the treatment effect of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty. The study included 21 patients, mean age was 60.22 years. Healthy control group included 20 persons, mean age was 55.60 years. Patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease (Fontaine stages I-III) were admitted for endovascular treatment by percutaneous transluminal angioplasty. Thermal images and ankle-brachial index values were obtained before and after treatment by percutaneous transluminal angioplasty. Median temperature change in the treated limb was 0.4℃, for non-treated limb was -0.5℃. The median value of ankle-brachial index in the treated limb increased by 0.17 from 0.81 after the procedure. The median value of ankle-brachial index in the non-treated limb decreased by 0.03 from the value of 1.01. Significant difference between treated limb and non-treated limb in change of ankle-brachial index was found with p value = .0035. The surface temperature obtained by the infrared thermography correlates with ankle-brachial index. We present data showing that the increase of ankle-brachial index is associated with increase of skin temperature in the case of limbs treated by percutaneous transluminal angioplasty. Our results also suggest potential of the use of infrared thermography for monitoring foot temperature as a means of early detection of onset of foot ischemic disorders.

© The Author(s) 2016.


Infrared thermography; ankle-brachial index; percutaneous transluminal angioplasty; peripheral arterial disease

Med Phys. 2015 May;42(5):2242-8. doi: 10.1118/1.4907969.

Effectiveness of digital infrared thermal imaging in detecting lower extremity deep venous thrombosis.

Deng F1Tang Q2Zeng G1Wu H1Zhang N1Zhong N1.

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The authors aimed to determine the effectiveness of infrared thermal imaging (IRTI) as a novel, noninvasive technique in adjunctive diagnostic screening for lower limb deep venous thrombosis (DVT).


The authors used an infrared thermal imaging sensor to examine the lower limbs of 64 DVT patients and 64 healthy volunteers. The DVT patients had been definitively diagnosed with either Doppler vascular compression ultrasonography or angiography. The mean area temperature (T_area) and mean linear temperature (T_line) in the region of interest were determined with infrared thermal imaging. Images were evaluated with qualitative pseudocolor analysis to verify specific color-temperature responses and with quantitative temperature analysis. Differences in T_area and T_line between the DVT limb and the nonaffected limb in each DVT patient and temperature differences (TDs) in T_area (TDarea) and T_line (TDline) between DVT patients and non-DVT volunteers were compared.


Qualitative pseudocolor analysis revealed visible asymmetry between the DVT side and non-DVT side in the presentation and distribution characteristics (PDCs) of infrared thermal images. The DVT limbs had areas of abnormally high temperature, indicating the presence of DVT. Of the 64 confirmed DVT patients, 62 (96.88%) were positive by IRTI detection. Among these 62 IRTI-positive cases, 53 (82.81%) showed PDCs that agreed with the DVT regions detected by Doppler vascular compression ultrasonography or angiography. In nine patients (14.06%), IRTI PDCs did not definitively agree with the DVT regions established with other testing methods, but still correctly indicated the DVT-affected limb. There was a highly significant difference between DVT and non-DVT sides in DVT patients (P < 0.01). The TDarea and TDline in non-DVT volunteers ranged from 0.19 ± 0.15 °C to 0.21 °C ± 0.17 °C; those in DVT patients ranged from 0.86 °C ± 0.71 °C to 1.03 °C ± 0.79 °C (P < 0.01).


Infrared thermal imaging can be effectively used in DVT detection and adjunctive diagnostic screening because of its specific infrared PDCs and TDs values.

A review of thermal methods and technologies for diabetic foot assessment.

Sousa P1Felizardo VOliveira DCouto RGarcia NM.

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Temperature analysis has been considered as a complementary method in medical evaluation and diagnosis. Several studies demonstrated that monitoring the temperature variations of the feet of diabetic patients can be helpful in the early identification of diabetic foot manifestations, and also in changing behaviors, which may contribute to reducing its incidence. In this review, several and most used techniques for assessing the temperature of the feet are presented, along with original published work on specific applications in diabetic foot complications. A review of solutions and equipment that operate according to the temperature assessment techniques is also presented. Finally, a comparison between the various technologies is presented, and the authors share their perspective on what will be the state of affairs in 5 years.


diabetic foot; diagnosis; infrared thermography; liquid crystals thermography; self-management; temperature monitoring; ulcer prevention

J Biomed Opt. 2015 Feb;20(2):26003. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.20.2.026003.

Automatic detection of diabetic foot complications with infrared thermography by asymmetric analysis.

Liu C1van Netten JJ2van Baal JG2Bus SA3van der Heijden F1.

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Early identification of diabetic foot complications and their precursors is essential in preventing their devastating consequences, such as foot infection and amputation. Frequent, automatic risk assessment by an intelligent telemedicine system might be feasible and cost effective. Infrared thermography is a promising modality for such a system. The temperature differences between corresponding areas on contralateral feet are the clinically significant parameters. This asymmetric analysis is hindered by (1) foot segmentation errors, especially when the foot temperature and the ambient temperature are comparable, and by (2) different shapes and sizes between contralateral feet due to deformities or minor amputations. To circumvent the first problem, we used a color image and a thermal image acquired synchronously. Foot regions, detected in the color image, were rigidly registered to the thermal image. This resulted in 97.8% ± 1.1% sensitivity and 98.4% ± 0.5% specificity over 76 high-risk diabetic patients with manual annotation as a reference. Nonrigid landmark-based registration with B-splines solved the second problem. Corresponding points in the two feet could be found regardless of the shapes and sizes of the feet. With that, the temperature difference of the left and right feet could be obtained.

© 2015 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)

[The combined application of thermography and local thermometry for diagnostics, prognostication, modeling, and evaluation of the effectiveness of the treatment of acute sinusitis].

[Article in Russian]

Sergeev SV1Grigor’kina ES1Smogunov VV2Kuz’min AV2Volkova NA2.

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The objective of the present work was to study the possibilities of the combined application of thermography and local thermometry for diagnostics of acute sinusitis, characteristic of dynamics of the clinical course of this pathology, and evaluation of the effectiveness of its treatment. The study included 23 patients presenting with acute rhinosinusitis and 21 ones free from pathology of paranasal sinuses. Contact thermometry was performed with the use of the electronic thermometer applied to the anterior surface of the inferior turbinated bone. An infrared thermovision camera was employed to carry out thermographic measurements. The study demonstrated variations in endonasal and surface temperature under effect of the treatment. Positive dynamics of the patients’ conditions was manifested as a drop of endonasal temperature and relatively constant surface temperature. A rise in the surface temperature was associated with the pathological process. In the patients showing slightly positive dynamics of the disease, the surface temperature on the side of the pathological process was lower than on the unaffected side. This difference was interpreted as an indication of the reduced microcirculatory activity in this region. It was hypothesized that dynamics of the inflammatory process is to a large extent determined by the character of blood circulation in the affected region. The authors conclude that the combined application of thermometry and thermography not only improves the quality of diagnostics of acute rhinosinusitis but also facilitates the evaluation of its dynamics and the effectiveness of the treatment.

3D thermal medical image visualization tool: Integration between MRI and thermographic images.

Abreu de Souza MChagas Paz AASanches IJNohama PGamba HR.


Three-dimensional medical image reconstruction using different images modalities require registration techniques that are, in general, based on the stacking of 2D MRI/CT images slices. In this way, the integration of two different imaging modalities: anatomical (MRI/CT) and physiological information (infrared image), to generate a 3D thermal model, is a new methodology still under development. This paper presents a 3D THERMO interface that provides flexibility for the 3D visualization: it incorporates the DICOM parameters; different color scale palettes at the final 3D model; 3D visualization at different planes of sections; and a filtering option that provides better image visualization. To summarize, the 3D thermographc medical image visualization provides a realistic and precise medical tool. The merging of two different imaging modalities allows better quality and more fidelity, especially for medical applications in which the temperature changes are clinically significant.


Infrared Thermography in Pain Medicine

Francis Sahngun Nahm, MD


IRT is a non-invasive and safe diagnostic method which visualizes functional abnormalities and is used effectively in the diagnosis of numerous diseases and in the evaluation of treatment effect. Compared to other imaging diagnostic methods, it shows high diagnostic performance in pain diseases, and even higher sensitivity and specificity is obtained when using the stress loading test. Together with the development in medical technology, it is anticipated that the use of IRT will gradually increase in the field of pain medicine.