Digital infrared thermographic imaging for remote assessment of traumatic injury

William H. Cooke, Gilbert Moralez, Chelsea R. Barrera, Paul Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to test the hypotheses that digital infrared thermographic imaging (DITI) during simulated uncontrolled hemorrhage will reveal 1) respiratory rate and 2) changes of skin temperature that track reductions of stroke volume. In 45 healthy volunteers (25 men and 20 women), we recorded the ECG, finger photoplethysmographic arterial pressure, respiratory rate (pneumobelt and DITI of the nose), cardiac output (inert rebreathing), and skin temperature of the forehead during lower body negative pressure (LBNP) at three continuous decompression rates; slow (-3 mmHg/min), medium (-6 mmHg/min), and fast (-12 mmHg/min) to an ending pressure of -60 mmHg. Respiratory rates calculated from the pneumobelt (14.7 ± 0.9 breaths/min) and DITI (14.9 ± 1.2 breaths/min) were not different (P = 0.21). LBNP induced an average stroke volume reduction of 1.3 ml/mmHg regardless of decompression speed. Maximal reductions of stroke volume and forehead temperature were -100 ± 12 ml and -0.32 ± 0.12°C (slow), -86 ± 12 ml and -0.74 ± 0.27°C (medium), and -78 ± 5 ml and -0.17 ± 0.02°C (fast). Changes of forehead temperature as a function of changes of stroke volume were best described by a quadratic fit to the data (slow R 2 = 0.95; medium R 2 = 0.89; and fast R 2 = 0.99).Our results suggest that a thermographic camera may prove useful for the remote assessment of traumatically injured patients. Life sign detection may be determined by verifying respiratory rate. Determining the magnitude and rate of hemorrhage may also be possible based on future algorithms derived from associations between skin temperature and stroke volume.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1813-1818
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Hemorrhage
  • Lower body negative pressure
  • Skin blood flow
  • Thermal control
  • Thermoregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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