Evaluation of hand skin temperature : Infrared thermography in combination with cold stress tests

Abstract: AbstractSince ancient times, warm or cold skin on the human body has been used as a parameter in evaluating health. Changes in body temperature are attributed to diseases or disorders. The assessment of body temperature is often performed to measure fever by detecting an elevated core temperature. With techniques such as infrared thermography, it is possible to perform a non-contact temperature measurement on a large surface area. The overall aim of this thesis was to contribute to a better understanding of the hand skin temperature variability in healthy persons and in persons experiencing whitening fingers (WF).The enclosed four papers discuss issues such as thermal variability response to cold stress test (CST) in repeated investigations; the specific rewarming pattern after CST; the difference between the hand’s palmar and dorsal temperatures; and evaluating skin temperatures and response to CST in participants with WF and healthy participants. All four papers used an experimental approach involving healthy males (I-III) and females (III) as well as individuals with (IV) and without WF (I-IV). Data were generated using dynamic infrared imaging before and after a CST. The radiometric images were analyzed using image analysis and statistics.The study showed that: (I) there is variability in hand skin temperature; (II) there are cold and warm hand skin temperature response patterns; (III) the skin temperatures on the palmar and dorsal sides of the hand are closely related; and (IV) a baseline hand skin temperature measurement can distinguish between whitening fingers and controls.The conclusion of this thesis is that it is necessary to engage in thorough planning before an investigation in order to choose the most adequate method for evaluating peripheral skin temperature response depending on the question asked.