There are few effective methods to detect or prevent the extravasation of injected materials such as chemotherapeutic agents and radiographic contrast materials. To investigate whether a thermographic camera could visualize the superficial vein and extravasation using the temperature gradient produced by the injected materials, an infrared thermographic camera with a high resolution of 0.04 °C was used. At the room temperature of 26 °C, thermal images and the time course of the temperature changes of a paraffin phantom embedded with rubber tubes (diameter 3.2 mm, wall thickness 0.8 mm) were evaluated after the tubes were filled with water at 15 °C or 25 °C. The rubber tubes were embedded at depths of 0 mm, 1.5 mm, and 3.0 mm from the surface of the phantom. Temperature changes were visualized in the areas of the phantom where the tubes were embedded. In general, changes were more clearly detected when greater temperature differences between the phantom and the water and shallower tube locations were employed. The temperature changes of the surface of a volunteer's arm were also examined after a bolus injection of physiological saline into the dorsal hand vein or the subcutaneous space. The injection of 5 ml room-temperature (26 °C) saline into the dorsal hand vein enabled the visualization of the vein. When 3 ml of room-temperature saline was injected through the vein into the subcutaneous space, extravasation was detected without any visualization of the vein. The subtraction image before and after the injection clearly showed the temperature changes induced by the saline. Thermography may thus be useful as a monitoring system to detect extravasation of the injected materials.
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