The use of Infrared Thermography (IRT) in burns depth assessment: A diagnostic accuracy meta-analysis

Dr Djamila Rojoa1, Ms Aqua Asif2, Mr Costantinos Poyiatzis2, Mr Firas Raheman1

1Leicester Royal Infirmary, , United Kingdom, 2University of Leicester, , United Kingdom


Background: The timely diagnosis of burns depth is crucial to avoid unnecessary surgery and delays in adequate management of patients with burn injuries. Whilst it is mostly a clinical diagnosis, indocyanine green, laser doppler imaging and thermography have been used alongside clinical findings to support the diagnosis. Infrared thermography is a non-invasive technique which uses temperature differences to diagnose tissue burn depth. Our study aims to assess its use in differentiating between superficial and deep burns.
Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review using electronic databases. We used a mixed-effects logistic regression bivariate model to estimate summary sensitivity and specificity and developed hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic (HSROC) curves.
Results: We identified 6 studies reporting a total of 197 burns, of which 92 were proven to be deep burns. The reference standard was clinical assessment at the time of injury and burn healing time. The pooled estimates for sensitivity and specificity were 0.84 (95%CI 0.71-0.92) and 0.76 (95%CI 0.56-0.89), respectively.
Conclusions: IRT is a promising burns assessment modality which may allow surgeons to correctly classify burn injuries at the time of presentation. This will allow a more efficient management of burns, timely surgical intervention, and a more pleasant patient experience.


Dr Djamila Rojoa is a surgical trainee at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, in the United Kingdom. Having completed her medical studies at the University of Manchester, she has pursued a surgical career, with an interest in plastics surgery. She is passionate about surgical research and intends to craft a career path along the plastics surgery route.

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