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Skin temperature has long been used as a natural indicator of vascular diseases in the extremities. Considerable correlation between oscillations in skin surface temperature and oscillations of skin blood flow has previously been demonstrated. We hypothesised that the impairment of blood flow in stenotic (subcutaneous) peripheral arteries would influence cutaneous temperature such that, by measuring gradients in the temperature distribution over skin surfaces, one may be able to diagnose or quantify the progression of vascular conditions in whose pathogenesis a reduction in subcutaneous blood perfusion plays a critical role (e.g. peripheral artery disease). As proof of principle, this study investigates the local changes in the skin temperature of healthy humans (15 male, [Formula: see text] years old, BMI [Formula: see text] kg/m <sup>2</sup>) undergoing two physical challenges designed to vary their haemodynamic status. Skin temperature was measured in four central regions (forehead, neck, chest, and left shoulder) and four peripheral regions (left upper arm, forearm, wrist, and hand) using an infrared thermal camera. We compare inter-region patterns. Median temperature over the peripheral regions decreased from baseline after both challenges (maximum decrease: [Formula: see text] °C at 60 s after exercise; [Formula: see text] and [Formula: see text] °C at 180 s of cold-water immersion; [Formula: see text]). Median temperature over the central regions showed no significant changes. Our results show that the non-contact measurement of perfusion-related changes in peripheral temperature from infrared video data is feasible. Further research will be directed towards the thermographic study of patients with symptomatic peripheral vascular disease.

Original publication




Journal article


IEEE transactions on bio-medical engineering

Publication Date





276 - 288