Infrared thermal imaging as a new non-invasive cure point tool to assess filarial lymphedema

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Camera set up to take pictures of participants at the bottom of the legs. Credit: Louise Kelly-Hope

Researchers at LSTM’s Center for Neglected Tropical Diseases (CNTD) have used an infrared thermal imaging camera to detect subclinical cases and predict the progression of lymphatic filariasis in Bangladesh.

An article published in Journal of Clinical Medicine presents the results of a study that examined the use of an infrared the camera as a new non-invasive point-of-care tool for lymphatic filariasis of the lower extremity .

Thermal imaging has been used for several decades in a wide range of medical disciplines, but it is the first time it has been used for filariasis or any neglected tropical skin disease (NTD).

Dr. Louise Kelly-Hope of LSTM led the research. She said: “Infrared thermal imaging presents an innovative and objective method to quantify the clinical change in filarial lymphedema status through the use of natural emitters to capture skin surface temperatures. This tool will help to objectively control the progression of the disease or to detect new and subclinical cases in the field “.

The LSTM team first tested the use of thermal imaging in Malawi in 2019 with the team of the lymphatic filariasis removal program using an iPhone FLIR thermal camera, which provided important insights into the its usefulness as a noninvasive diagnosis.

This helped design a multiple country in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Malawi, using the robust FLIR C3 compact thermal camera, which is in operation and includes approximately 750 people affected by lymphatic filariasis. The aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of the improved self-care morbidity management protocol in lymphedema patients with mild, moderate, and severe conditions.

This paper presents the results of the first initial survey conducted in Bangladesh in October 2020, which included 153 people affected by lymphedema.

  • The images clearly show significant differences due to the severity of the lymphedema; it helps to “see” the “invisible” and shows that the “affected legs” are hotter, especially in people with more serious conditions, which is associated with inflammation, damage, and disease. progression.
  • It also helps to show how much the limbs are affected: people with milder conditions used to have high temperatures in selected areas of the limbs, while people with he had high temperatures that affected most of his limbs
  • Temperature data indicate significantly higher limb temperatures in people suffering from secondary bacterial infections known as “acute dermatolymphangiadenitis” (ADLAs) or acute attacks.

The team believes that this new tool has great potential to be used by field researchers and local health workers to detect subclinical cases, predict disease progression, and monitor pathological changes in tissue and the severity of the later stage. of improved care packages or other interventions in people affected by lymphedema. .

Professor Mark Taylor, director of the LSTM CNTD, said: “I believe Louise’s research has provided an important new tool to improve care for this devastating tropical disease. It will give local health workers and researchers a new look. opportunity to improve the diagnosis and follow-up of filarial lymphedema in an affordable and useful format.To be able to show the same patients, the improvements obtained by the improved care packages and other interventions will go a long way to alleviate the physical and mental suffering of those affected for filarial lymphedema “.


Patients with elephantiasis are more likely to have depression


More information:
Louise A. Kelly-Hope et al, Infrared Thermal Imaging as a Novel Non-Invasive Point-of-Care-Tool to Assess Affiliate Lymphedema, Journal of Clinical Medicine (2021). DOI: 10.3390 / jcm10112301

Citation: Infrared thermal imaging as a new non-invasive point-of-care tool for assessing filarial lymphedema (2021, May 26) retrieved May 26, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05- infrared-thermal-imaging -non-invasive-point-of-care.html

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