Evaluation of thermal imaging for the diagnosis of repetitive strain injuries of the wrist and hand joints (Englisch)

In: Research on Biomedical Engineering   ;  35 ,  1  ;  57-64  ;  2019

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Abstract

Purpose

Infrared thermography is an imaging tool that captures infrared radiation emitted by the body, which helps in the diagnosis of inflammatory diseases. The aim of this research was to evaluate the feasibility of the use of thermal imaging in the diagnosis of repetitive strain injuries (RSI) in the wrist and hand joints.

Methods

Thermal images were collected from the wrist and hand region of 33 volunteers. From these total, there were 23 volunteers with complaints of pain in one hand and wrist, due to RSI in their daily working activities (study group); while the other 10 volunteers had no complains (control group). The volunteers underwent clinical assessment by an orthopedist and were also associated through the ultrasound evaluation. Thermal imaging analysis was performed in the wrist and hand joints complaining regions and compared with the healthy side/limb. The thermal variations, i.e., based on the infrared imaging temperature measurements, were compared between the study and control groups, through the clinical and ultrasound diagnoses by the Anova, Bonferroni, and LSD tests.

Results

Between the study group, there was a significant difference with p = 0.037 for Bonferroni and p = 0.012 for LSD. The ROC curve showed that thermography presents 50% sensitivity and 82% specificity using a cutoff of 0.65 °C for temperature differences.

Conclusion

The results showed that the infrared thermography analysis might be able to evaluate the inflammatory process from repetitive strain injuries, helping its diagnosis and monitoring of such condition.

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