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Proceedings Paper

Quantitative thermal gradient imaging of biological surfaces
Author(s): Curtis J. Swanson; Christopher Jon Wingard
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Paper Abstract

Heat production in biological systems is an obligate consequence of the chemical thermodynamics of the living state. Various cellular and systemic mechanisms exist of the dissipation (or conservation) of this net heat production in a basically aqueous environment to various exchange surfaces. Besides fundamental conduction, and radiation, convective modes of heat transfer are particularly significant, the latter often establishing steady-state thermal gradients particularly at normal or experimental exchange surfaces. Considering the relatively high specific heat of water and the low level of heat generation, the magnitude of such gradients are small and this require methods with sensitivity < 0.1 degree(s)C, with reasonable time response, and ones adaptable to quantitative spatial mapping. To that end, we have developed a calibration procedure and protocols employing a variety of thermotropic liquid crystal (TLC) formats which can quantitatively map both cellular and tissue surface gradients in a reproducible manner. TLC's used in a quantitative mode have the extreme temperature resolution required for basic biological studies, as well as application where altered cellular metabolism and/or vascular flow patterns are manifested as thermal changes in the spatial thermogram. This paper provides preliminary data on the application of the above protocols for the assessment of the dynamic changes in the thermal gradient pattern on the left-ventricular surface of supported, experimental heart preparations. Accordingly, after initial capture of the calibrated TLC images onto videotape using a multichannel plate intensifier (together with A/D conversion of physiological signals), single frame digitization allows for exact quantitative correlations of changes in the thermogram with hemodynamic parameters throughout the cardiac cycles with a time resolution of approximately equals 33 msec. The type of information obtained has potential value in clinical cardiac diagnosis (ie. coronary artery disease, by-pass assessment, etc.) and other biological applications where altered flow and/or heat production leads to changing surface gradients (ie thrombosis, embolism, tumor cell heat production, etc.) which can now be accurately and quantitatively mapped by the use of TLC's.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 1991
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 1467, Thermosense XIII, (1 March 1991); doi: 10.1117/12.46449
Show Author Affiliations
Curtis J. Swanson, Wayne State Univ. (United States)
Christopher Jon Wingard, Wayne State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1467:
Thermosense XIII
George S. Baird, Editor(s)

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