A Reliability Study Using a Long-Wave Infrared Thermography Device to Identify Relative Tissue Temperature Variations of the Body Surface and Underlying Tissue

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study assesses the ability of the Scout (WoundVision LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana), an FDA-approved visual and thermal imaging device and software analysis tool, to provide clinicians with a reliable and reproducible way to incorporate long-wave infrared thermography and relative temperature differential into clinical wound assessment by consistently identifying control areas against which to measure wound temperature.

METHODS:

This laboratory-based study utilized 3 adult wound care professionals experienced in control area selection. Twenty-six previously collected wound images were used for the study. The 3 readers placed a control area on each of the 26 wounds 3 different times (n = 78 independent placements) to establish within-reader agreement. To establish between-reader agreement, the readers again placed a control area on each of the 26 wounds (n = 26 independent placements).

OUTCOME MEASURES:

This study evaluates 2 aspects of the Scout device’s reliability: (1) within- and between-reader agreement of initial patient encounter control area images and (2) between-reader agreement of follow-up encounter control area images.

RESULTS:

The control area measurements were very consistent both within (percent coefficient of variation [%CV] approximately 1%) and between readers (%CV approximately 2%). The average maximum temperature within-reader %CV was 1.14% and the between-reader variation was %CV 1.97%. The average minimum temperature had a within-reader %CV of 1.1% and the between-reader coefficient of variation was 2.01%. The within- and between-reader average difference in mean temperature was 0.14° C and 0.29° C, respectively. The largest mean temperature difference observed within-readers was 0.68° C, and the smallest difference was 0.01° C. The largest difference observed in between-reader mean temperature was 0.96° C, and the smallest was 0.03° C.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study demonstrates that clinicians can repeatedly and reliably perform a relative temperature differential analysis using the Scout device to determine an appropriate control area for wound temperature assessment.

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