Introduction: Objective assessment of final resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) position and adequate distal aortic occlusion is critical in patients with hemorrhagic shock, especially as feasibility is being increasingly investigated in the prehospital setting. We propose that mobile forward-looking infrared (FLIR) thermal imaging is a fast, reliable, and noninvasive method to assess REBOA position and efficacy in scenarios applicable to battlefield and prehospital care.
Methods: Ten swine were randomized to a 40% hemorrhage group (H, n = 5) or nonhemorrhage group (NH, n = 5). Three experiments were completed after Zone I placement of a REBOA catheter. Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta was deployed for 30 minutes in all animals followed by randomized continued deployment versus sham in both light and blackout conditions. Forward-looking infrared images and hemodynamic data were obtained. Images were presented to 62 blinded observers for assessment of REBOA inflation status.
Results: There was no difference in hemodynamic or laboratory values at baseline. The H group was significantly more hypotensive (mean arterial pressure 44 vs. 60 mm Hg, p < 0.01), vasodilated (systemic vascular resistance 634 vs. 938dyn·s/cm, p = 0.02), and anemic (hematocrit 12 vs. 23.2%, p < 0.01). Hemorrhage group animals remained more hypotensive, anemic, and acidotic throughout all three experiments. There was a significant difference in the temperature change (ΔTemp) measured by FLIR between animals with REBOA inflated versus not inflated (5.7°C vs. 0.7°C, p < 0.01). The H and NH animals exhibited equal magnitudes of ΔTemp in both inflated and deflated states. Blinded observer analysis of FLIR images correctly identified adequate REBOA inflation and aortic occlusion 95.4% at 5 minutes and 98.8% at 10 minutes (positive predictive value at 5 minutes = 99% and positive predictive value at 10 minutes = 100%).
Conclusions: Mobile thermal imaging is an easy, rapid, and reliable method for assessing distal perfusion after occlusion by REBOA. Smartphone-based FLIR technology allows for confirmation of adequate REBOA placement at the point of care, and performance was not degraded in the setting of major hemorrhage or blackout conditions.