Thermal Imaging for the Diagnosis of Early Vascular Dysfunctions

Diseases of blood vessels (referred in this article as vascular dysfunction) cause more morbidity and mortality, than combined impact of any other major non-communicable disease including cancer. We strongly feel that the development of a therapy system based on the management of disease of the vessel than management of the risk factors will yield better results and provide greater opportunity for individualized therapy. Detection of early vascular changes before clinical manifestations of endothelial dysfunction, hardening of the arteries, increased intima-media thickness, is of great importance for early identification of individuals with increased risk of accelerated atherosclerosis. Currently, the methods available for the detection of vascular dysfunction include ultrasound measurements of carotid artery, and altered flow measurements due to deep vein thrombosis.

Metabolic diseases such as hypertension, excess weight, obesity, and diabetes, also induce altered flow and vascular dysfunction. There are several devices available for monitoring hardening of the arteries (endothelial dysfunction). These devices have not been clinically validated for specificity and accuracy. There is a great interest in the clinical use of imaging and photography. Portable cameras have been developed with appropriate software analytics and algorithms for imaging as well as photography. Forus Health of Bengaluru, India, has developed a portable fundus camera, which can acquire, display, store, and transmit images of the posterior and anterior surfaces of human eye.

The inventors claim, that this camera with its software applications, can monitor the progress of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and other disorders of the eye. There is a great need for non-invasive devices that can monitor flow dynamics in large, medium, small arteries, microvessels, and specific regional vascular beds. In this overview, we have discussed the importance of monitoring blood flow velocity, flow patterns, and a novel thermal imaging technology for diagnosis of vascular dysfunction in diabetic patients. We have described the changes in thermal pattern of hands, feet, and face of a low-risk and a moderate risk patient.

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