Clinical utilization of near-infrared spectroscopy devices for burn depth assessment

Wound Repair Regen. May-Jun 2007;15(3):332-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2007.00235.x.


The diagnosis of burn depth is based on a visual assessment and can be subjective. Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic devices were used preclinically with positive results. The purpose of this study was to test the devices in a clinical setting using easily identifiable burn wounds. Adult patients with acute superficial and full-thickness burns were enrolled. NIR point spectroscopy and imaging devices were used to collect hemodynamic data from the burn site and an adjacent unburned control site. Oxy-hemoglobin and deoxy-hemoglobin concentrations were extracted from spectroscopic data and reported as oxygen saturation and total hemoglobin. Sixteen patients (n=16) were included in the study with equal numbers in both burn wound groups. Point spectroscopy data showed an increase in oxygen saturation (p<0.0095) and total hemoglobin (<0.0001) in comparison with the respective control areas for superficial burn wounds. The opposite was true for full-thickness burns, which showed a decrease in oxygenation (p<0.0001) and total hemoglobin (p<0.0147) in comparison with control areas. NIR imaging technology provides an estimate of hemodynamic parameters and could easily distinguish superficial and full-thickness burn wounds. These results confirm that NIR devices can successfully distinguish superficial and full-thickness burn injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burns / pathology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxyhemoglobins / analysis
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared*


  • Oxyhemoglobins