The authors look at a new system called the FLIR ONE thermal imager in the assessment of burn wound depth. This is a small, handheld device with two cameras that can be attached to iOS or android tablets or smartphones. The device itself costs $250 and is easy to use. Using a specific FLIR application on the device, immediate analysis of the burn wound can be performed. It uses thermal imaging to estimate burn wound depth. Deep burn wounds appear to be colder, likely due to decreased microvascular blood flow and superficial burns are generally warmer due to epithelium loss, inflammation and oedema. This study set out to assess the reliability and validity of this new assessment tool. Over a four-month period two observers obtained thermal images of burn wounds at set time periods following the burn injury. Reliability was assessed by statistically comparing the difference in temperature of burn wound and normal skin measured by each observer. The overall reliability was found to be excellent. The validity was assessed by comparing the first observer’s results for temperature difference in the burn wound and normal skin of each patient and the registered healing time of the burn wound. The results showed moderate validity. The authors state that additional research into the validity of this assessment tool would be appropriate, however, they do feel in the interim that this device is a useful adjunct for burn assessment. 

The FLIR ONE thermal imager for the assessment of burn wounds: reliability and validity study.
Jaspers M, Carriere M, Meij-de-Vries A, et al.
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Jill Baker

St John’s Hospital, Livingston, UK.

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