Assessing Cardiac Health Using Thermography
Nov 29, 2012 02:31PM
By Linda Witt
Digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI) is often used as a breast health monitoring tool to alert women to changes in breast tissue years before a lump is discovered. However, there are many other applications of this technology, including the field of cardiac health.
It is unfortunate that for many men and women, the first sign or symptom of heart disease is a fatal heart attack. However, there is a technique that allows for early warnings using thermal imaging. A study in the American Journal of Cardiology concluded that, “Infrared thermography is a promising technique for the detection of CAD, before and after revascularization.”
One of the functions of the skin is autonomic temperature regulation by means of complex interactions controlled by the nervous system, which keeps our core temperature constant via micro-dermal circulation within the top layers of our skin. The study determined that asymmetrical patterns over the chest wall (see Fig. 1) were valuable in alerting patients to suspected heart disease with 94 percent sensitivity.
Because everyone’s thermal fingerprint is incredibly stable over their lifetime, only when pathology of some type develops do asymmetrical patterns emerge, warning the patient and their physician that further testing needs to occur to determine the cause. With coronary artery disease (CAD), this warning can move the subject to action, often changing diet, exercise routines, stress management and other lifestyle modifications to stop or reverse the disease.
Along with cardiac imaging, other regions of the body can be imaged that indicate increased risk for development of CAD. Carotid arteries can be viewed to determine if there may be an occlusion (stroke assessment) or if, in the case of elevated CRP (blood marker for inflammation), it is determined that there is a lot of thermal activity in these arteries, a person’s risk of developing CAD is greatly increased (see Fig. 2 and 3). Besides carotid screening, dental health has now been determined to play a critical role in cardiac health (see Fig. 1).
Using this non-invasive screening method can offer men and women an opportunity for health monitoring and risk assessment. It uses no radiation and does not come in contact with the body. This technology is not typically covered by insurance, but is surprisingly affordable for most. DITI is the doorway to a new medical paradigm; one that empowers people to take responsibility for their overall health in an effort to prevent or reverse disease.
Lynda Witt is a certified clinical thermographer and owner of Proactive Health Solutions, LLC. For more information, visit ProactiveHealthSolutions.org.