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The application of infrared thermography in evaluation of patients at high risk for lower extremity peripheral arterial disease.

J Vasc Surg. 2011 Oct;54(4):1074-80. Epub 2011 Jul 23

The application of infrared thermography in evaluation of patients at high risk for lower extremity peripheral arterial disease.

Huang CL, Wu YW, Hwang CL, Jong YS, Chao CL, Chen WJ, Wu YT, Yang WS.

Department of Internal Medicine, Taoyuan General Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan.

OBJECTIVE: We investigated the usefulness of infrared thermography in evaluating patients at high risk for lower extremity peripheral arterial disease (PAD), including severity, functional capacity, and quality of life.

METHODS: A total of 51 patients (23 males; age 70 ± 9.8 years) were recruited. They completed three PAD-associated questionnaires, including walking impairment, vascular quality of life, and 7-day physical activity recall questionnaires before a 6-minute walking test (6MWT). Ankle-brachial index (ABI) and segmental pressure were analyzed for PAD diagnosis and stenotic level assessment. The cutaneous temperature at shin and sole were recorded by infrared thermography before and after the walk test. Detailed demographic information and medication list were obtained.

RESULTS: Twenty-eight subjects had abnormal ABI (ABI ≤1), while PAD was diagnosed in 20. No subjects had non-compressible artery (ABI >1.3). Demographic profiles and clinical parameters in PAD and non-PAD patients were similar, except for age, smoking history, and hyperlipidemia. PAD patients walked shorter distances (356 ± 102 m vs 218 ± 92 m; P ≤ .001). Claudication occurred in 14 patients, while seven failed in completing the 6MWT. The rest temperatures were similar in PAD and non-PAD patients. However, the post-exercise temperature dropped in the lower extremities with arterial stenosis, but was maintained or elevated slightly in the extremities with patent arteries (temperature changes at sole in PAD vs non-PAD patients: -1.25 vs -0.15°C; P ≤ .001). The exercise-induced temperature changes at the sole were not only positively correlated with the 6MWD (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.31, P = .03), but was also correlated with ABI (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.48, P ≤ .001) and 7-day physical activity recall scores (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.30, P = .033).

CONCLUSION: By detecting cutaneous temperature changes in the lower extremities, infrared thermography offers another non-invasive, contrast-free option in PAD evaluation and functional assessment.

Copyright © 2011 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 21784604 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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