Thermal alterations in patients with inflammatory diseases: a comparison between psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis

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A. Capo *
J. Di Paolo
E. Celletti
E. Ismail
A. Merla
P. Amerio
(*) Corresponding Author:
A. Capo | alessandracapo@hotmail.it

Abstract

Functional infrared imaging (fIRI) is used to provide information on circulation, thermal properties and thermoregulatory function of the cutaneous tissue in several clinical settings. This study aims to evaluate the application of fIRI in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) assessment, evaluating the thermoregulatory alterations due to joint inflammation in RA patients both in basal conditions and after a mild functional (isometric) exercise, using the same protocol we projected in our recent work on psoriatic arthritis (PsA); fIRI outcomes were compared with those provided by power-Doppler ultrasonography. Ten patients with RA and 11 healthy controls were enrolled in the study. The cutaneous temperature dynamics of 20 regions of interest located on the dominant hand were recorded by means of high-resolution thermal imaging at baseline and after a functional exercise. RA patients showed lower thermal parameters compared to healthy controls, suggesting that the RA-related inflammatory state alters the normal thermal properties of the skin overlying inflamed joints. These results are different from PsA data observed in the previous study. fIRI applied to the study of the response to a functional stimulus may represent an innovative, non-invasive, and operator-independent method for the assessment of early RA


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