In this study, the effect of carotid artery stenosis on the neck skin temperature maps was investigated. With the presence of stenosis, alterations in the carotid artery hemodynamics bring about changes in the heat transfer to the surrounding tissue. This is expected to be captured in the resulting temperature map over the external neck skin surface; possibly it correlates to the presence of stenosis. A total of twenty carotid artery samples, from ten patients with both sides normal (0% stenosis), stenosis (>50%) on one side, and stenosis (>50%) on both sides, were studied. Duplex Ultrasound and infrared (IR) thermography examinations were performed. A computational study, on an ideal 3-dimensional (3D) carotid artery and jugular vein model encapsulated with a solid neck tissue phantom resembling the human neck, was carried out. Incorporating the patient-specific geometrical (depth of artery and stenosis) and flow (peak systolic and end diastolic inlet velocity) boundary conditions, conjugate bio-heat transfer was studied using a finite volume numerical scheme. Simulation results and in-vivo thermal maps show that the average temperature on the external neck skin surface is significantly higher for normal patients (32.82 ± 0.53 °C versus 32.00 ± 0.37 °C, p < 0.001). Furthermore, the thermal region of interests (TROIs) were extracted from the in-vivo thermal images, which both qualitatively and quantitatively distinguish the normal and diseased cases. This study suggests the potential of thermal feature-based screening of patients with carotid artery stenosis.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Carotid artery stenosis; Conjugate bio-heat transfer; Hemodynamics; Infrared (IR) thermal imaging; Thermal region of interest (TROI); Thermography.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.