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Laser Doppler Imaging (LDI) Shows Higher Diagnostic Accuracy of Burn Depth Assessment Than Thermal Imaging

A recent study published in the Burns Journal Elsevier indicated that Laser Doppler Imaging provided better results and diagnostic accuracy in assessing the depth of burn wounds, when compared to thermal imaging.

Careful assessment of burn depth is critical for preservation of tissue and surgical procedures involved in the treatment of burns. The study involved comparative evaluation and analysis of Laser Doppler Imaging (LDI) and thermal imaging to assess burn depth. Analysis of 16 burn patients was carried out with 52 selected burn regions.

 Assessment of burn depth was done using four procedures: LDI, thermal imaging, real-time clinical evaluation and photographic evaluation. The burn depth was determined on the first and third days. Photographic evaluation was done by four blinded burn surgeons. The outcomes of these methods were predicted using LDI flux and Delta T values.

The results of the analysis showed that the burn depth assessment methods were more accurate on day 3 of post burns than day 0. LDI produced an accuracy of 80.8% and 92.3% on post burn day 0 and day 3 respectively, when compared to thermal imaging which showed 55.8% and 71.2%. Photographic evaluation displayed 62.5% and 71.6% and real-time clinical evaluation had 88.5% accuracy.

Thus, the findings of the study proposed that the accuracy of burn depth assessment is higher with LDI than thermal imaging. Although thermal imaging is faster, it is sensitive to environmental factors which may compromise the accuracy. The results imply that LDI as a diagnostic tool can be integrated into the clinical practice for effective assessment and evaluation of burn wound depth.


Source: Wearn C, Lee K, Hardwicke J et al. Prospective comparative evaluation study of Laser Doppler Imaging and thermal imaging in the assessment of burn depth. Burns. 2018; 44(1):124-133.

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