In 51 lesions from 15 patients with the inflammatory skin condition chronic graft-versus-host-disease, hyperspectral imaging accurately delineated active erythema and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The method was validated by dermatologist-approved confident delineations of only definitely affected and definitely unaffected areas in photographs. A prototype hyperspectral imaging system acquired a 2.5 × 3.5 cm2 area of skin at 120 wavelengths in the 450-850 nm range. Unsupervised extraction of unknown absorbers by endmember analysis achieved a comparable accuracy to that of supervised extraction of known absorbers (melanin, hemoglobin) by chromophore mapping: 0.78 (IQR: 0.39-0.85) vs. 0.83 (0.53-0.91) to delineate erythema and 0.74 (0.57-0.87) vs. 0.73 (0.52-0.84) to delineate hyperpigmentation. Both algorithms achieved higher specificity than sensitivity. Whereas a trained human confidently marked a median of 7% of image pixels, unsupervised and supervised algorithms delineated a median of 14% and 27% pixels. Hyperspectral imaging could overcome a fundamental practice gap of distinguishing active from inactive manifestations of inflammatory skin disease.
Keywords: erythema; hyperspectral imaging; inflammation; pigment; skin.
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