Home monitoring of the temperature of diabetic feet has proven its value in prevention of recurrence of pressure ulcers. However, as mentioned above current tools are inadequate. Recently affordable thermal infrared camera's are on the market to be used in combination with a smartphone. Our objective is to use these affordable camera's and develop a method generate a thermal 3D map of the feet. This method will be tested and validated in collaboration with ZGT.

Clinical background

People with diabetes have a highly increased chance of bad to no feeling in the feet (neuropathy), together with a bad peripheral vascular status.
The risk of neuropathy is that these people with diabetes won’t notice heightened pressure on the foot during walking and will continue to walk with these pressure spots until it is developed in a pressure ulcer. Of everyone with diabetes 19 to 34% develop a pressure ulcer in their life and after healing there is a 40% recurrence rate within a year and 60% within three years. Due to the declined peripheral vascular status in the feet these wound heal very slowly and needs intensive clinical care.

To prevent recurrence of the ulcer is regularly inspected of a clinical specialist. This method is intensive for the patient and expensive. Preferably, the patient inspects its feet himself at home. Skin temperature measurements of the feet has been proved to be excellent, objective, non-invasive method for feet inspection. However current available methods have their inaccuracies. Some setups require contact with the feet and only measure selective area’s, or the instruments are to expensive. Another drawback of some devices is that it only measures the planar surface (sole) of feet, while 50% of the problems arise beyond this surface.

Project lead

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dr.ir. Ferdi van der Heijden