Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) accounts for around 73,000 lower-limb amputations annually in the US on patients with diabetes. Early detection of DPN is critical. Current clinical methods for diagnosing DPN are subjective and effective only at later stages. Until recently, thermal cameras used for medical imaging have been expensive and hence prohibitive to be installed in primary care setting. The objective of this study is to compare results from a low-cost thermal camera with a high-end thermal camera used in screening for DPN. Thermal imaging has demonstrated changes in microvascular function that correlates with nerve function affected by DPN. The limitations for using low-cost cameras for DPN imaging are: less resolution (active pixels), frame rate, thermal sensitivity etc. We integrated two FLIR Lepton (80x60 active pixels, 50° HFOV, thermal sensitivity < 50mK) as one unit. Right and left cameras record the videos of right and left foot respectively. A compactible embedded system (raspberry pi3 model Bv1.2) is used to configure the sensors, capture and stream the video via ethernet. The resulting video has 160x120 active pixels (8 frames/second). We compared the temperature measurement of feet obtained using low-cost camera against the gold standard highend FLIR SC305. Twelve subjects (aged 35-76) were recruited. Difference in the temperature measurements between cameras was calculated for each subject and the results show that the difference between the temperature measurements of two cameras (mean difference=0.4, p-value=0.2) is not statistically significant. We conclude that the low-cost thermal camera system shows potential for use in detecting early-signs of DPN in under-served and rural clinics.
V. Joshi, N. Manivannan, Z. Jarry, J. Carmichael, M. Vahtel, G. Zamora, C. Calder, J. Simon, M. Burge, and P. Soliz, "Low cost thermal camera for use in preclinical detection of diabetic peripheral neuropathy in primary care setting," Proc. SPIE 10485, Optics and Biophotonics in Low-Resource Settings IV, 104850U (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 28, 2018; Published: 13 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2290335.
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