Thermoregulation and thermography in neonatal physiology and disease.
INTRODUCTION: Infrared thermal imaging, or thermography, is a technique used to measure body surface temperature in the study of thermoregulation. Researchers are beginning to use this novel methodology to study cancer, peripheral vascular disease, and wound management. METHODS: The authors tested the feasibility of using an FLIR SC640 uncooled, infrared camera to measure body temperature in neonates housed in heated, humid incubators. The authors examined thermograms to analyze distributions between central and peripheral body temperature in extremely low birth weight infants. The authors have also used this technology to examine the relationship between body temperature and development of necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants. RESULTS: Handheld, uncooled, infrared cameras are easy to use and produce high-quality thermograms that can be visualized in grayscale or color palettes to enhance qualitative and quantitative analyses. CONCLUSION: Future research will benefit from the use of this noninvasive, inexpensive measurement tool. Nurse researchers can use this methodology in adult and infant populations to study temperature differentials present in pathological conditions.
Knobel, RB; Guenther, BD; Rice, HE
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