Ischemia and reperfusion injuries present major challenges for both military and civilian medicine. Improved methods for assessing the effects and predicting outcome could guide treatment decisions. Specific issues related to ischemia and reperfusion injury can include complications arising from tourniquet use, such as microvascular leakage in the limb, loss of muscle strength and systemic failures leading to hypotension and cardiac failure. Better methods for assessing the viability of limbs/tissues during ischemia and reducing complications arising from reperfusion are critical to improving clinical outcomes for at-risk patients. The purpose of this research is to develop and assess possible prediction models of outcome for acute limb ischemia using a pre-clinical model. Our model relies only on non-invasive imaging data acquired from an animal study. Outcome is measured by pathology and functional scores. We explore color, texture, and temporal features derived from both color and thermal motion imagery acquired during ischemia and reperfusion. The imagery features form the explanatory variables in a model for predicting outcome. Comparing model performance to outcome prediction based on direct observation of blood chemistry, blood gas, urinalysis, and physiological measurements provides a reference standard. Initial results show excellent performance for the imagery-base model, compared to predictions based direct measurements. This paper will present the models and supporting analysis, followed by recommendations for future investigations.
Over 70% of military casualties resulting from the current conflicts sustain major extremity injuries. Of these the majority are caused by blasts from improvised explosive devices. The resulting injuries include traumatic amputations, open fractures, crush injuries, and acute vascular disruption. Critical tissue ischemia—the point at which ischemic tissues lose the capacity to recover—is therefore a major concern, as lack of blood flow to tissues rapidly leads to tissue deoxygenation and necrosis. If left undetected or unaddressed, a potentially salvageable limb may require more extensive debridement or, more commonly, amputation. Predicting wound outcome during the initial management of blast wounds remains a significant challenge, as wounds continue to “evolve” during the debridement process and our ability to assess wound viability remains subjectively based. Better means of identifying critical ischemia are needed. We developed a swine limb ischemia model in which two imaging modalities were combined to produce an objective and quantitative assessment of wound perfusion and tissue viability. By using 3 Charge-Coupled Device (3CCD) and Infrared (IR) cameras, both surface tissue oxygenation as well as overall limb perfusion could be depicted. We observed a change in mean 3CCD and IR values at peak ischemia and during reperfusion correlate well with clinically observed indicators for limb function and vitality. After correcting for baseline mean R-B values, the 3CCD values correlate with surface tissue oxygenation and the IR values with changes in perfusion. This study aims to not only increase fundamental understanding of the processes involved with limb ischemia and reperfusion, but also to develop tools to monitor overall limb perfusion and tissue oxygenation in a clinical setting. A rapid and objective diagnostic for extent of ischemic damage and overall limb viability could provide surgeons with a more accurate indication of tissue viability. This may help reducing the number of surgical interventions required, by aiding surgeons in identifying and demarcating areas of critical tissue ischemia, so that a more adequate debridement may be performed. This would have obvious benefits of reducing patient distress and decreasing both the overall recovery time and cost of rehabilitation.