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Research Papers

Detection of Atherosclerosis Through Mapping Skin Temperature Variation Caused by Carotid Atherosclerosis Plaques

[+] Author and Article Information
Yang Yang, Jing Liu

 Key Laboratory of Cryogenics, Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. C.Key Laboratory of Cryogenics, Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. C.; Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine,  Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China e-mail: jliu@mail.ipc.ac.cn

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 3(3), 031005 (Aug 12, 2011) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004109 History: Received December 30, 2010; Revised April 26, 2011; Published August 12, 2011; Online August 12, 2011

This paper reports the effects of atherosclerosis plaque on the human cervicum skin surface temperature. The classical Pennes bioheat equation and a 3-D model consisting of cervical vertebra, muscle, and skin layer is adopted to characterize the heat transfer in the cervicum. Since the formation of atherosclerotic plaque is random, several parametric analyses are conducted to simulate actual situations. A medical far-infrared thermal imaging system is employed on two healthy human subjects to evaluate the feasibility of this technique. According to the simulations, there are variations in the temperature contours on the surface of the skin due to the axial variations in thermal parameters between healthy arterial intimae and atherosclerosis plaque. This suggests that far-infrared thermal imaging can be used to detect the marker safely via a noncontact way. Additional parametric studies indicated that the cervicum skin surface temperature distribution discloses the information regarding the plaque such as position, depth, pattern, quantity, and metabolic heat generation, etc. Furthermore, the external thermal conditions and calm physiological state can be implemented to enhance the detection of the plaque via mapping skin temperature. To test this strategy, a far-infrared imaging system was applied to record the dynamic thermal pictures on the cervicum of two human subjects, and the intentional cooling by the alcohol was proposed to improve detection. The thermograph reveals the surface effects of the main blood vessel and organs in the cervicum. The present study sets up a theoretical foundation for using noncontact far-infrared imaging method for a reliable assessment of atherosclerosis plaque without causing any wound or radiation to human body.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

(a) Schematic diagram of the human cervicum on longitudinal and cross-section; (b) sketch of the 3-D cylinder calculation domain of size Φ100 mm × 100 mm; (c) sketch of the location of the three main blood vessels and the carotid atherosclerosis plaque; and (d) sketch of the mesh generation for the calculation domain

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Figure 2

Typical calculation results: (a) the steady-state temperature distribution on the cervicum skin surface without any carotid atherosclerosis plaque; (b) the steady-state temperature distribution on the cervicum skin surface with a piece of carotid atherosclerosis plaque

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Figure 3

(a) The steady-state temperature distribution on the cervicum skin surface with different widths of the carotid atherosclerosis plaque: (I) 3 mm, (II) 4 mm, (III) 5 mm, (IV) 6 mm, (V) 7 mm, and (VI) 8 mm. (b) The temperature at the middle point of the plaque with various widths.

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Figure 4

(a) Sketch of the plaque horizontal position; (b) the steady-state temperature distribution on the cervicum skin surface with different horizontal positions of the carotid atherosclerosis plaque

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Figure 5

The steady-state temperature distribution on the cervicum skin surface and the temperature at the middle point of the plaque with different metabolic heat generation

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Figure 6

The steady-state temperature distribution on the cervicum skin surface with the minimal plaque thermograph can identify

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Figure 7

(a) Sketch of the situation that two pieces of the plaque appeared simultaneously on both sides of the arterial intimae; (b) the steady-state temperature distribution on the cervicum skin surface

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Figure 8

(a) Sketch of the situation that the plaque took on a ring-shape enwraping the whole arterial intimae; (b) the steady-state temperature distribution on the cervicum skin surface

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Figure 9

The temperature difference between the normal common carotid artery and the middle point of the plaque with various environmental conditions: (a) environmental temperature; (b) heat transfer coefficient

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Figure 10

The temperature difference between the normal common carotid artery and the middle point of the plaque with various physiological states

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Figure 11

(a) Male youth subject; (b) female youth subject; (I) optical photograph on the human cervicum; (II) corresponding infrared thermograph

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Figure 12

Infrared thermographs on the skin surface of the cervicum skin surface: (a) Male youth subject; (b) female youth subject; (1) the location of external jugular vein, (2) the location of internal jugular vein, (3) the location of common carotid artery, and (4) the location of laryngeal

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