Patients in an immobile state are susceptible to pressure ulcers, which are localized injuries to the skin and/or underlying tissues due to prolonged pressure. This paper builds upon a body of work examining in-hospital older adult patients at-risk of developing pedal pressure ulcers by examining thermal images of one patient, who was reporting pain in her right foot, over 112 days of a hospital stay. Thermal images of the patient's left and right heels and malleoli were subjected to image processing to remove noise and enhance contrast, region selection and feature extraction to observe changes in temperature over time. Mean intensity within each ROI was extracted, and the difference in temperature between the left and right heels was calculated over time. The resulting temperature pattern was consistent with the physical phenomenon related to ulcer development, intervention and recovery; the right heel was similar in temperature when starting the study and at the end of the study, but was drastically warmer when experiencing erythema and drastically colder when experiencing ischaemia. These results suggest that consistent thermal imaging, in conjunction with image processing may be able to detect the formation of pressure ulcers faster than can be visually observed. Early detection of pressure ulcers is critical in the prevention of pressure ulcers, and is of great importance to any hospital or nursing home.

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Conference 39th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC 2017
Bennett, S.L. (Stephanie L.), Goubran, R, & Knoefel, F. (2017). Long term monitoring of a pressure ulcer risk patient using thermal images. In Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS (pp. 1461–1464). doi:10.1109/EMBC.2017.8037110