Validation of low-cost smartphone-based thermal camera for diabetic foot assessment
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Authors: van Doremalen RFM, van Netten JJ, van Baal JG, Vollenbroek-Hutten MMR, van der Heijden F
Publication: Diabetes research and clinical practice
Infrared thermal imaging (IR) is not yet routinely implemented for early detection of diabetic foot ulcers (DFU), despite proven clinical effectiveness. Low-cost, smartphone-based IR-cameras are now available and may lower the threshold for implementation, but the quality of these cameras is unknown. We aim to validate a smartphone-based IR-camera against a high-end IR-camera for diabetic foot assessment.
We acquired plantar IR images of feet of 32 participants with a current or recently healed DFU with the smartphone-based FLIR-One and the high-end FLIR-SC305. Contralateral temperature differences of the entire plantar foot and nine pre-specified regions were compared for validation. Intra-class correlations coefficient (ICC(3,1)) and Bland-Altman plots were used to test agreement. Clinical validity was assessed by calculating statistical measures of diagnostic performance.
Almost perfect agreement was found for temperature measurements in both the entire plantar foot and the combined pre-specified regions, respectively, with ICC values of 0.987 and 0.981, Bland-Altman plots’ mean Δ = -0.14 and Δ = -0.06. Diagnostic accuracy showed 94% and 93% sensitivity, and 86% and 91% specificity.
The smartphone-based IR-camera shows excellent validity for diabetic foot assessment.