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Title: The application of medical thermography to discriminate neuroischemic toe ulceration in the diabetic foot
Authors: Gatt, Alfred
Falzon, Owen
Cassar, Kevin
Camilleri, Kenneth P.
Gauci, Jean
Ellul, Christian
Mizzi, Stephen
Mizzi, Anabelle
Papanas, Nikolaos
Sturgeon, Cassandra
Chockalingam, Nachiappan
Formosa, Cynthia
Keywords: Diabetes
Medical thermography
Foot -- Diseases
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.
Citation: Gatt, A., Falzon, O., Cassar, K., Ellul, C., Camilleri, K., Gauci, J.,...Formosa, C. (2018). The application of medical thermography to discriminate neuroischemic toe ulceration in the diabetic foot. International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds, 17(2), 102-105.
Abstract: This study aimed to determine whether thermal imaging can detect temperature differences between healthy feet, nonulcerated neuroischemic feet, and neuroischemic feet with toe ulcers in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Participants were prospectively divided into 3 groups: T2DM without foot problems; a healthy, nonulcerated neuroischemic group, and an ulcerated neuroischemic group. Thermal images of the feet were obtained with automated segmentation of regions of interest. Thermographic images from 43 neuroischemic feet, 21 healthy feet, and 12 neuroischemic feet with active ulcer in one of the toes were analyzed. There was a significant difference in toe temperatures between the 3 groups (P = .001), that is, nonulcerated neuroischemic (n = 181; mean temperature = 27.7°C [±2.16 SD]) versus neuroischemic ulcerated (n = 12; mean temperature = 28.7°C [±3.23 SD]), and healthy T2DM group (n = 104; mean temperature = 24.9°C [±5.04 SD]). A post hoc analysis showed a significant difference in toe temperatures between neuroischemic nonulcerated and healthy T2DM groups (P = .001), neuroischemic ulcerated and healthy groups (P = .001). However, no significant differences in toe temperatures were identified between the ulcerated neuroischemic and nonulcerated neuroischemic groups (P = .626). There were no significant differences between the ulcerated toes (n = 12) and the nonulcerated toes (n = 57) of the same foot in the ulcerated neuroischemic group (P = .331). Toe temperatures were significantly higher in neuroischemic feet with or without ulceration compared with healthy feet in patients with T2DM. There were no significant differences in temperatures of ulcerated toes and the nonulcerated toes of the same foot, implying that all the toes of the same foot could potentially be at risk of developing complications, which can be potentially detected by infrared thermography.
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