The Value of Infrared Thermography to Assess Foot and Limb Perfusion in Relation to Medical, Surgical, Exercise or Pharmacological Interventions in Peripheral Artery Disease
Infrared thermography (IRT) is a promising imaging method in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). This systematic review aims to provide an up-to-date overview of the employment of IRT as both a diagnostic method and an outcome measure in PAD patients in relation to any kind of intervention. On September 2022, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, Google Scholar, Web of Science, and gray literature were screened. Eligible articles employing IRT in PAD were screened for possible inclusion. The RoB 2.0 tool was used to assess the risk of bias. Twenty-one eligible articles were finally included, recruiting a total of 1078 patients. The IRT was used for PAD diagnosis/monitoring in 11 studies or to assess the effect of interventions (revascularization, pharmacological therapy, or exercise rehabilitation) in 10 studies. The analysis of the included papers raised high concerns about the overall quality of the studies. In conclusion, IRT as a noninvasive technique showed promising results in detecting foot perfusion in PAD patients. However, limits related to devices, points of reference, and measurement conditions need to be overcome by properly designed trials before recommending its implementation in current vascular practice.