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Validating within-limb calibrated algorithm using a smartphone attached infrared thermal camera for detection of arthritis in children

HumanInsight Validating within-limb calibrated algorithm using a smartphone attached infrared thermal camera for detection of arthritis in children

J Therm Biol. 2023 Jan;111:103437. doi: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2022.103437. Epub 2022 Dec 19.


OBJECTIVES: To determine the impact of physical activity on temperature after within-limb calibration (TAWiC) measures and their reproducibility. To determine if thermal imaging from a smartphone attached thermal camera is comparable to thermal imaging using a handheld thermal camera for detection of arthritis in children.

METHODS: Children without symptoms were enrolled to the "asymptomatic exercise cohort", and received infrared imaging, using a standard handheld camera, after initial resting period, after activity, and after second resting period. Children seen in the rheumatology clinic with knee pain were enrolled into the "symptomatic knee pain cohort" and received imaging with both the smartphone-attached and handheld cameras before a routine clinical exam. TAWiC was defined as the temperature differences between joint and ipsilateral mid-tibia as the main readout for arthritis detection.

RESULTS: The asymptomatic exercise cohort demonstrated notable changes in absolute and TAWiC temperatures collected by thermal imaging after physical activity, and temperatures did not consistently return to pre-activity levels after a second period of rest. The 95th TAWiC from anterior view were, resting one -0.1 C (0.5), activity -0.7 C (0.5), resting two -0.2 C (0.6) (resting 1 vs resting 2, p-value = 0.13). In the symptomatic knee pain cohort, the smartphone attached and handheld thermal cameras performed similarly in regards to detection of joint inflammation and evaluation of joint temperature using the TAWiC algorithm, with high sensitivity of 80% (55.2-100.0%) and specificity of 84.2% (76.0-92.4%) in the anterior knee view when compared with the gold standard joint exam performed by a pediatric rheumatologist. The mean 95th TAWiC temperature difference between the two cameras was -0.1 C (-0.1 to 0.0) (p = 0.0004).

CONCLUSIONS: This study showed continued validity of the TAWiC algorithm across two distinct thermal camera platforms and demonstrates promise for improved accessibility and utility of this technology for arthritis detection.

PMID:36585071 | DOI:10.1016/j.jtherbio.2022.103437

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