Between visit variability of thermal imaging of feet in people attending podiatric clinics with diabetic neuropathy at high risk of developing foot ulcers

Audrey Macdonald, Nina Petrova, Suhail Ainarker, John Allen, Clare Lomas, Wegin Tang, Peter Plassmann, Aaron Whittam, John Bevans, Francis Ring, Ben Kluwe, Rob Simpson, Leon Rogers, Graham Machin, Mike Edmonds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: People with diabetic neuropathy who have previously ulcerated are at high risk of re-ulceration. They should regularly attend podiatry clinics for surveillance and routine protective podiatric treatment. It has been suggested that inflammation prior to skin breakdown shows up as a hotspot on a thermal image even in the absence of clinical signs. The aim of this study is to quantify inter-patient and intra-patient thermal variations presented by diabetic feet at high risk of ulceration. Approach: Whole foot and spot temperatures were recorded for 96 patients who attended two successive podiatry appointments without ulceration 28 [28, 31] days apart, median [interquartile range]. This was a part of a longer study into whether thermal imaging in clinic can reduce the rate of re-ulceration. Main results: The variation in spot temperature right/left differences for single patients between visits was comparable to the variation observed between patients (0.8 [0.3, 1.5] °C compared with 0.9 [0.4, 1.7] °C). Similarly, whole foot temperature variation for a single patient between visits was comparable to the variation observed between patients (0.6 [0.2, 1.1] °C compared with 0.8 [0.2, 1.3] °C). Significance: Thresholds which depend on thermal differences from visit to visit are unlikely to have sufficient specificity to effectively target treatment designed to prevent the development of foot ulcers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number084004
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Volume40
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

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